Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine; Missa In illo tempore

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COMPOSERS: Monteverdi
LABELS: Archiv
WORKS: Vespro della Beata Vergine; Missa In illo tempore
PERFORMER: Paul Esswood, Kevin Smith (countertenor), Ian Partridge, John Elwes (tenor), David Thomas, Christopher Keyte (bass); Regensburg Domspatzen, Hamburg Bläserkreis für Alte Musik/Hanns-Martin Schneidt
CATALOGUE NO: 447 719-2 ADD (1975)
Time has dealt harshly with this twenty-year-old recording. Where Gardiner’s live recording (also Archiv) presents virtually the same edition, it has so much more vitality. Pickett (L’Oiseau-Lyre) and Parrott (EMI) frame Monteverdi’s music with antiphons in a living liturgy. Otto (Capriccio) fits the Vespers onto a single disc. Schneidt’s tempi are slow, his chorus dense and solemn, his cornetts unstable – as we used to think was inevitable. Only the solo voices reveal magic touches in the concerti, Partridge dark and sensuous in ‘Nigra sum’, Esswood and Smith ecstatic at the loveliness of the ‘Daughter of Jerusalem’. George Pratt