Sunday, 2 December 2007

20. Claudio Monteverdi - Madrigals (1587 - 1651)

















Recording

Title: Madrigali Concertati
Performer: Tragicomedia
Director Stephen Stubbs
Year: 1993
Length: 1 hour 13 minutes

Review

This is a really beautiful and actually quite fun recording. It is the sconed fun one on the list after Carmina Burana, and it is also the most expressive piece of music until now.

Monteverdi is well known for his respect for the text and in his Madrigals this is completely obvious, the voices are telling a story or making a declaration of love, whatever. And the music serves the supporting role of enhancing the lyrics, the instruments accentuate what is being said, give further emotional colour to the music and make it more enjoyable.

This is the first of 6 albums by Monteverdi that we will have on this list and they will all show this immense respect for text, this is not like the polyphonic kaleidoscopes of voice, this is completely intelligible (if you know Italian). This is also the nearest to pop that we've come to, secular love songs around 3 minutes each. Great Stuff

Track Highlights

1. Cor Mio (sesta parte)
2. Amor (seconda parte)
3. Augelin, que la voce
4. Echo vicine, o bella tigre

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

1613 Monteverdi was appointed as conductor at San Marco in Venice. There he soon restored the musical standards of both the choir and instrumentalists, which had withered under the financial mismanagement of his predecessor, Giulio Cesare Martinengo. The managers of the basilica were relieved to have such a distinguished musician to take the post, where music had been in decline since the death of Giovanni Croce in 1609.

While in Venice, Monteverdi also finished his sixth, seventh and eighth books of madrigals. The eighth is the largest, containing works written over a thirty-year period, including the dramatic scene Tancredi e Clorinda (1624), in which the orchestra and voices form two separate entities; they act as counterparts. Most likely Monteverdi was inspired to try this arrangement because of the two opposite balconies in San Marco, which had inspired much similar music from composers there, such as Gabrieli. What made this composition also stand out is the first-time use of string tremolo (fast repetition of the same tone) and pizzicato (plucking strings with fingers) for special effect in dramatic scenes.

Some one has made a film of the fourth book of Madrigals:

1 comment:

Polyphonic said...

The film is called The Full Monteverdi. It was directed by John La Bouchardiere for Polyphonic Films and features the British vocal ensemble I Fagiolini. It is out on DVD and has been broadcast internationally.