Rinaldo Alessandrini / Concerto Italiano

Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine

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AllMusic Review by

Rinaldo Alessandrini's brilliantly realized recording of Monteverdi's Vespers is an intimate, slightly pared down version of the early Baroque masterpiece. Working in the warm acoustic of Rome's Palazzo Farnese, he employs just one singer per part, and eliminates instrumental doublings in the choral movements except where they are expressly indicated. The result is a compact, richly haloed sound that won't ever knock you out of your chair, but which flatters the more intimate solo and duet movements that can sound anemic in grander productions; with the sound gap between the biggest and smallest movements closed, each holds its own within the overall structure of the piece. While Alessandrini deserves credit for his conception and leadership, and especially his insightful treatment of Monteverdi's ever-changing rhythmic flow, it is his group of 12 singers that make the strongest impression. Their cohesive ensemble singing, marked by flawless intonation and richly colored sonorities, has a solidity and emotional resonance worthy of a much bigger group. More importantly, they are unusually interesting soloists, singing with elasticity, expressivity, and tonal warmth without sacrificing exactness. The Concerto Italiano is as good an original instrument ensemble as you're likely to hear anywhere, and its performance here is flawless. The use of fifes, rather than the recorders used in some realizations, adds an appealing color.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206
1
4:29
2
5:42
3
7:27
4
1:02
5
1:18
6
2:01
7
1:14
8
2:16
9
0:53
10
2:15
11
1:17
12
1:22
13
0:52
14
2:08
15
2:09
16
1:31
17
1:19
18
1:15
19
2:13
20
1:27
21
0:49
22
1:52
23
0:58
24
2:19
25
1:05
26
2:21
27
1:27
blue highlight denotes track pick