Monteverdi: Frammenti

Album cover art for upc 5028421969824
Catalog: BRI96982

Koetsveld, Krijn; Nuove Musiche, Le

Following the publication of the collection Parnassus Musicus Ferdinandaeus in 1615; all kinds of compiled collections of sacred music started to appear; often featuring music for smaller ensembles and of course; in the new early-Baroque style; music scored for voice; instruments and basso continuo. The compiler; usually a composer himself; gathered works from his colleagues; added some of his own work and had the collection published. Nowadays because of copyright this would be unimaginable; particularly if publishing the compositions of one’s own contemporaries. We do not actually know exactly how and why editors and composers actually compiled these collections. Sometimes self-interest played a role; because if a somewhat less-lauded composer provided his volume with a work by Monteverdi; it added to the status of the collection. After all; Monteverdi was the highly esteemed Maestro di Capella from Venice at the time; who moreover composed operas commissioned by quite a few courts in what we now call northern Italy. It may also have been a statement: by including the music of others; appreciation was expressed for the work of colleagues. It may also have been that the compiler thought it important to publish a volume that gave a representative sample of what was being written in a particular period and region. We unfortunately do not know whether Monteverdi received any compensation for lending his work to these tomes; either. People discovered; edited; watched and listened to what others were doing; then took advantage of it. In any case; we can be grateful that; thanks to these collections; we have more of Monteverdi’s music at our disposal. His letters show that his responsibilities organising the religious music for Venice constituted an enormous task; and that he was also required to work for other patrons. The fact that he requested an assistant for a long time says enough in that regard. Alessandro Grandi took a lot of work off his hands; and we also find his music in the anthologies of Giulio Cesare Bianchi and Lorenzo Calvi; for example. It is an eternal shame that a great deal of Monteverdi’s music has been lost and will probably remain irretrievable. On this album; we find a wonderful collection of often short sacred works by Monteverdi; all published in compilations made by others. Parts of psalms and hymns of all descriptions make up the texts – and always in the style that we know so well from; amongst others; the concertos in the Vespro della Beata Vergine; the pieces from the Selva Morale e Spirituale (a collection by Monteverdi himself; containing only his own music); and the posthumous collection from 1650; Messa a quattro voci ed salmi; in which the publisher also includes a Magnificat by his contemporary Francesco Cavalli. The repertoire on this album derives from multiple sources and was probably included in the various collections because the compiler simply liked it. Besides the polyphonic; madrigal-like pieces such as Adoramus te; Christe adoramus te and Domine in furore; the often highly virtuosic duets and solo pieces stand out. Sometimes; for example in Salve o regina; the embellishments are written out; which in turn teaches us a lot about how Monteverdi envisioned them.

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