Claudio Monteverdi

Adoramus te, Christe, motet for 6 voices & continuo, SV 289

    Description by Donato Mancini

    During the 1620s, most of Monteverdi's published music consisted of sacred pieces he contributed to anthologies compiled by colleagues or former students of his. Cremonese musician Giulio Cesare Bianchi, who began his studies of music composition under Monteverdi, went on to publish anthologies in which he included the master's work. Bianchi's Libro primo de motetti in lode contains mostly his own work, but also features four motets by Monteverdi, all of which were composed a cappella with basso sequente. Monteverdi was now the maestro di cappella at St. Marks in Venice, and the grandiose performances of his sacred music he was directing there were winning great favor. Anthologies like Bianchi's were surely intended to announce that a profound change had come in the composition of sacred music.

    Adoramus te is a lovely choral piece produced at a time when the solo voice had mostly ousted vocal polyphony. As part of his duties at St. Marks, Monteverdi had to provide new music each year for the festival of the Holy Cross, which takes place in late May. Adoramus te, and its companions in Bianchi's volume, were doubtlessly produced for this feast. Adoramus te is one of the more impressive pieces. Ecstatic in tone, it is composed in relatively short, bold, dignified statements of various combinations of voices. Like a number of these later choral pieces, Adoramus benefits immensely in sonority from the addition of a non-vocal bass. There are purely choral passages, in which all the voices have equal share, but far more monodic passages in which a single voice, usually alto, soprano, or bass, is clearly the melody-bearer, surging out above the rest as on a powerful wave. And powerful is the word, not in emotional ferocity but in sheer hugeness of sound. That said, purely choral passages are gigantesque chordal vocalizations, bursting with feeling, surges of gorgeous, and lush dissonance.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Glossa GCD 922805
    2012 Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951355
    2011 Newton Classics 8802042
    2011 Decca
    2011 Erato / Warner Classics 2564671474
    2007 Harmonia Mundi 2908226.28
    2005 Dynamic 491/1-2
    2005 Analekta AN29782
    2005 Hyperion 67519SACD
    2005 Hyperion 67519
    2003 Virgin Classics 562167
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 1951250
    2002 Naïve 20005
    2001 Virgin 61934
    2000 Decca 467431
    1999 K 617 617015
    1999 K 617 7047
    1996 Decca 448716
    1996 Sony Classical 66615
    1996 Opus 111 30150
    1994 Special Music Company 4577
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901355
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901250
    Fone 9406
    Harmonia Mundi 2981355
    Conifer 18991