Monteverdi: The Complete Madrigal Books
La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina - direction
The extraordinary series of recordings of the nine published books of madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, commenced by Claudio Cavina just in advance of the new century, with him directing (and singing within) the Italian ensemble La Venexiana, is now being made available in an advantageously-priced box set on Glossa, limited both in the time available and the numbers produced. Completed in 2006, this multi-award winning cycle set new standards in textual declamation, rhetorical colour and harmonic refinement, reflecting the individual singers’ grasp of the compositional pearls created by Monteverdi employing poetic gems, with works spanning half a century. Some of the marvelous major works to be found in La Venexiana’s survey – and the box set reflects Glossa’s innovative design style used for the individual volumes – include the Lamento della ninfa, the Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and the Lamento d’Arianna. An extra attraction of this release is the addition, as a bonus CD, of the Live in Corsica album of Monteverdi madrigals recorded by La Venexiana in 2002. A newly-written essay for this box set from Stefano Russomanno – who wrote the notes for the individual volumes (all these, along with full texts and translations in PDF form, are to be found in the box set) – considers the entire span of these nine books, Monteverdi’s compositional development as a radical, if not reforming artist, and his devotion, above all, to the word.