Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610
More grand-scale choral works from the great Italian composer
This article is from 2007.
While Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo occupies Festival pole position, there is plenty more on the programme from the great Renaissance-Baroque transitionalist Italian. Five concerts of madrigals make up what EIF director Jonathan Mills calls ‘the sketch book’. As he says: ‘These are little dramas, funky, beautiful, at times erotic and quite, quite gorgeous.’ But if these are the works on paper, the other oil alongside L’Orfeo is the monumental choral piece, the Vespers of 1610.
Published in Venice when Monteverdi was working for the Duke of Mantua, it’s not quite clear where they were first intended to be heard or why they were written. Possibly, it was in preparation for the ultimately successful job interview at Venice’s St Mark’s, the most prestigious place to be. The Usher Hall isn’t quite the same, but conductor Jordi Savall will certainly produce some glorious sounds with this stunning music and the voices and instrumentalists of Hespèrion XXI And La Capella Reial de Catalunya. (Carol Main)
Usher Hall, 473 2000, 16 Aug, 8pm, £8–28.