Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 2

Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 2

by Robert King


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Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 2

Robert King doesn't muck around. With ten volumes of his ongoing survey of Vivaldi's sacred music already completed -- along with dozens of other recordings for Hyperion -- King has embarked on a similar cycle of the sacred works of Monteverdi. Volume One gathered music from the enormous collection Selva morale et spirituale, which Monteverdi published near the end of his life, while Volume Two pulls together mostly seldom-performed works found in anthologies printed in Monteverdi's era. The longest piece in this latter volume is the four-voice Mass, which appeared in 1650 shortly after the composer's death and, like its counterpart on the first volume, was written in the conservative stile antico. King has the choir perform at low pitch, which darkens the sonorities and enhances the music's solemnity. Eight motets and songs, on Latin texts and calling for from one to six voices, fill out the balance of the program. Like the Mass, "Letaniae della Beata Vergine" also comes off as rather somber, although it features a few juicy seconda prattica dissonances and chromaticisms, and the rich textures of the concluding section are lovely. Altogether brighter is "Exultent caeli." King's decision to gradually increase the volume with each repetition of the opening phrase makes for a buoyant beginning to the disc. The solos and duets are all well sung: Sopranos Carolyn Sampson and Rebecca Outram blend nicely in "Venite, siccientes" and "O beatae viae"; tenors Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist pull off the virtuoso duet "Cantate Domino" with aplomb; and Sampson and bass Peter Harvey sustain the sweetly lyrical lines of "Ego dormio" beautifully. Gilchrist and Harvey also shine in their respective solo numbers, "Currite populi" and "Laudate Dominum." The acoustics are resonant, though not overly so, and the booklet contains informative notes by John Whenham.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/11/2004
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571174389
catalogNumber: 67438


  1. Exultent caeli et gaudeant angeli, motet for 5 voices, SV 304
  2. Venite siccientes ad aquas Domini, motet for 2 sopranos, SV 335
  3. Currite populi, psallite timpanis, motet for tenor, SV 297
  4. Ego dormio et cor meum vigilat, motet for soprano and bass, SV 300
  5. Mass for 4 voices da cappella, for 4 voices & organ (from Mass for 4 voices & Psalms), SV 190
  6. Cantata Domino canticum novum, motet, version for 2 voices, SV 292
  7. O beatae viae, O felices gressus, motet for 2 sopranos, SV 312
  8. Laudate Dominum, O omnes gentes, motet for bass (from Messa a quatro voci, et Salmi), SV 197
  9. Laetaniae della Beata Vergine, motet for 6 voices (from Messa a quatro voci, et Salmi), SV 204

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