Monteverdi 450: Vespers of 1610
Two of Europe's leading ensembles, Freiburg Baroque Consort and Vox Luminis, perform Monteverdi's celebrated 1610 Vespers at the London Festival of Baroque Music.
As part of the Monteverdi 450 celebrations his monumental 1610 Vespers is performed by two of Europe's leading early music ensembles, Freiburg Baroque Consort and Vox Luminis, directed by Lionel Meunier.
No one knows why Claudio Monteverdi published his great masterpiece in praise of the Virgin Mary. It might even have been one of history's most elaborate and convincing job applications: Monteverdi, miserable in his current employment at the Mantuan court, possibly had an eye on impressing the authorities in Venice, a city where the Marian cult was especially strong. It's not even certain if this ravishing collection of psalms, motets, a sonata, hymn and seven-part setting of the Magnificat was intended for performance as a continuous liturgical sequence.
But what is beyond doubt is that the Vespers shows one of the greatest composers of all time at the height of his powers and working on an unprecedented scale: in this endlessly inventive, dazzlingly expressive music, old and new musical styles collide and fuse, and the intimate and sensuous give way to the splendid and elaborate.
Recorded yesterday at the London Festival of Baroque Music at St John's Smith Square and presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch.
Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine (beginning)
8.20pm Interval: Lionel Meunier talks to Sara Mohr-Pietsch about his approach to performing Monteverdi's Vespers.
8.30pm Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine (conclusion)
Freiburg Baroque Consort
Lionel Meunier (director).