Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Songs of Love and War

Donald Macleod focuses on Monteveri's final collection of madrigals as well as his last two surviving operas.

To mark 450 years since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod traces Claudio Monteverdi's remarkable rise from relatively humble origins in Cremona (he was the son of a barber-surgeon) to his subsequent career as instrumentalist and composer at the court of Vincenzo Gonzaga at Mantua, and his later promotion to the role of Director of Music at the Basilica of St Mark's in Venice.

Today Donald completes his account of the life and music of Monteverdi by looking at the Eighth book of Madrigals ('Songs of Love and War) and his two final extant operas, written for Venice's new public opera house. For an elderly man, a canon of the Church, The Coronation of Poppea is an utterly extraordinary work: the world's first opera based on an historical subject, the rise of the courtesan Poppea as she supplants the Empress Octavia in the affections of the Emperor Nero. Lust, infidelity, love, ambition - the opera's famous immorality remains a challenge to audiences and critics alike.

Hor che'l ciel e la terra
Christina Pluhar, director

Altri canti d'Amore
Concerto Vocale
René Jacobs, director

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse (extract)
Ensemble Euphonia
Ensemble Elyma
Gabriel Garrido, director

L'incoronazione di Poppea (extract)
City of London Baroque Sinfonia
Arleen Auger (soprano) - Poppea
Della Jones (mezzo) - Nerone
Richard Hickox, director

Magnificat (primo) from Selva Morale Vol III
The Sixteen
Harry Chistophers, director.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 19 May 2017 18:30

Music Played

  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Or Che'l Ciel e la Terra

    Choir: I Fagiolini. Director: Robert Hollingworth.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN-0760.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 8.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Altri Canti d'Amor

    Conductor: René Jacobs. Ensemble: Concerto Vocale.
    • Harmonia Mundi HMC 901736.37.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • 1.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Il Ritorno d'Ulisse In Patria - Act 3

    Singer: Furio Zanasi. Singer: María Cristina Kiehr. Ensemble: Ensemble Elyma. Director: Gabriel Garrido. Ensemble: Eufonia Ensemble. Ensemble: Antonio Il Verso Early Music Ensemble.
    • K617 : K617-091.
    • K617.
    • 5.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    L' Incoronazione Di Poppea - Act 1 Scene 3

    Singer: Arleen Augér. Singer: Della Jones. Orchestra: City of London Baroque Sinfonia. Conductor: Richard Hickox.
    • VIRGIN : VCT-790775-2/A-C.
    • VIRGIN.
    • 4.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Magnificat (primo)

    Choir: The Sixteen. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • CORO : COR-16109.
    • Coro.
    • 12.


Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.