Claudio Monteverdi

Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben?, madrigal in 4 parts for 2 sopranos (from Book 7), SV 140

    Description by Donato Mancini

    As with a number of the pieces in Book 7, this madrigal is built mostly on closely imitative entries of the duetted voices, staggered to different degrees within a relatively narrow range. If there is a weakness here, its perhaps the overabundance of suspensions, which are the main contrapuntal/compositional device used. Almost every time the second voice in the imitative sequence enters, the first freezes on a high note, creating a chain of suspensions over the other's line. Why the many suspensions become tiring here and are ravishing elsewhere in the book is difficult to say.

    The overall tightness of conception more than saves the work. It's evident in the melodic style also; his relatively short phrases are often divided into two clear sections. The first half is a sixteenth-note melismatic flourish, a quick sharp exclamation like a sudden jab of pain, followed with a long high note and perhaps a little ornament at the tail end. Occasionally this is reversed, or substituted for an upwardly drifting, languid chain of notes, but an impression of exceptional single-mindedness remains. It would be fitting to talk about this piece as an abstracted take on the recitative; freed from any dramatic function, the recitative-like music moves unhurriedly through intelligent speculative possibilities. Monteverdi's genius is searching for new effects, and finding them.


    1. Ohime, dov'e il mio ben?, Aria di Romanesca
    2. Dunque ha potuto sol esio d'honore
    3. Dunque ha potuto in me piu che'l mio amore
    4. Ahi sciocco mondo e cieco

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 Hyperion CDA 68019
    2013 Naïve OP 30549
    2013 Vivat VIVAT 104
    2010 Glossa / Glossa Platinum 30917
    2010 Alto / Musical Concepts 1060
    2009 Chaconne 760
    2007 Regis Records 1060
    2007 Harmonia Mundi HMA1951129
    2007 Decca 4759115
    2007 L'Oiseau-Lyre
    2006 IDIS 6493
    2005 Cascavelle 3081
    2005 Glossa 920015
    2003 Glossa Platinum 30912
    2002 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77855
    1999 Glossa 920007
    1999 Harmonia Mundi HMT790 1129
    1999 Pearl GEMMCD9994
    1998 Virgin 45293
    1997 Carlton Classics 00442
    1997 Arts Music 47143
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 290841
    1993 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77282
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 901129
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 761025-2
    Classic CD 4
    Studio Matous 00122231
    London 5235