Andrew Parrott / Taverner Consort

Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers 1610; Mass of Thanksgiving; Madrigals

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Andrew Parrott's renowned recordings of the music of Claudio Monteverdi with the Taverner Consort, Choir, and Players date from 1984 to 1992 and have already been released in different combinations on EMI and Angel. This impressive 2009 reissue on Virgin Classics brings together performances of key works, such as the essential Vespro della beata vergine (commonly known as the 1610 Vespers), the Mass of Thanksgiving from 1631, and the Venetian Vesper Music from Selva morale e spirituale of 1641, thus giving a broad representation of major works from several stages of the composer's transition from the Renaissance to the early Baroque. Also included to round out the five CD set are selections of madrigals from Monteverdi's Madrigali guerreri et amorosi of 1638, and a few choice works by his contemporaries, Girolamo Fantini, Biagio Marini, Giovanni Rovetta, Giuseppe Scarani, and Francesco Usper. Parrott, his limber singers, and his agile instrumentalists make the music technically transparent and emotionally communicable in these recordings, often choosing moderate tempos that allow details of the counterpoint to clearly shine through, and generally adopting a mellifluous and smooth sound with attractive results. One advantage to Parrott's unhurried approach is that features of melismatic ornamentation and expressive cross-relations are more readily apparent when given time to be clearly heard, and the music also benefits from a mannered but gentle affetuoso style in appropriate passages. The sound quality of this set is not uniform, but it only slightly varies from disc to disc, improving in time with advances in digital recording. As an introduction to Monteverdi that provides optimal musical value for the number of CDs, this package is quite a bargain and recommendable to all listeners.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Vespro della Beata Vergine
1 0:37
2 4:48
3 3:17
Vespro della Beata Vergine
4 0:46
5 8:08
6 0:31
7 0:33
8 17:18
9 6:24
10 1:07
11 0:24
12 4:53
13 5:14
14 0:22
15 1:01
16 0:20
blue highlight denotes track pick