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Monteverdi: Madrigals, Book 7

By Koetsveld

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By Koetsveld and Le Nuove Musiche. By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Classical. 2 listening CDs. Published by Brilliant Classics (NX.BRI94980).

Item Number: NX.BRI94980

Le Nuove Musiche, a vibrant young ensemble from the Netherlands, specialises in music from the first half of the 17th century. While seeking to maintain authentic performance standards, the ensemble brings the music very much into the present, arguing that artistic questions of the past still permeate the musical landscape today. Featuring a captivating group of solo singers, who between them have performed with the Amsterdam Baroque Choir and The Bach Choir & Orchestra of The Netherlands, the ensemble is headed by Krijn Koetsveld, leader and harpsichordist, who has previously collaborated with the Groot Omroepkoor and the prestigious Netherlands Chamber Choir.

This is the second of a planned release of Claudio Monteverdi's complete madrigals. The fifth and sixth book - already released on Brilliant Classics as 93799 - were the first to break with tradition and herald 'la seconda pratica', the era of the basso continuo. From then on, the publication of Monteverdi's innovative settings were eagerly awaited, as they set the stage for more instrumental ritornellos, a newly important basso continuo and the addition of ornamentation around the bass and vocal parts. The book finishes with a ballo, Tirsi e Clori, a love duet with a five-part accompaniment, highly elaborate, with a chatty Tirsi contrasting with a sweet and melodic Clori. When the two singers come together with the rest of the ensemble, the listener is treated to the pinnacle of the madrigal era. This new instalment of the Monteverdi Complete Madrigals contains the complete Book VII, on two CDs. Monteverdi is the Master of the Madrigal, the unaccompanied vocal composition for up to 5 voices, on secular texts. Monteverdi developed the Renaissance form of a static, strictly polyphonic setting into a dramatic work in which the expression of feeling is prominent, paving the way for the Baroque Monody, the setting of a solo melody to the accompaniment of the other voices. The range of sentiments, the boldness of harmony and counterpoint and the dramatic impact of these works mark Monteverdi as one of the first geniuses of Western Music. In the 7th Book Monteverdi breaks away from the traditional Madrigal. The set contains vocal duets with more instrumental ritornellos in concertante style, a complex worked-out bass and highly developed ornamentation of the vocal lines.

The vocal ensemble Le Nuove Musiche consists of the elite of Dutch Early Music vocalists, led by eminent conductor and scholar Krijn Koetsveld. Their first Monteverdi recording, the Books 5 & 6 (BC93799) received excellent reviews in the international press, among which a "5 star" in the French Diapason. The extensive booklet notes include texts on the works as well as the complete sung texts in Italian and English.

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