Venice 1629

Venice 1629

by Gonzaga Band


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In 1629, Heinrich Schütz, the court composer to the Elector of Saxony, traveled from Dresden to Venice to study with Claudio Monteverdi, the maestro di capella of the Basilica of San Marco, and this meeting was significant for the eventual spread of Italian Baroque style to northern Europe. The Gonzaga Band highlights this important musical connection in its 2018 Resonus debut, and a handful of pieces by Schütz ("Paratum cor meum," "Exultavit cor meum") and Monteverdi ("Exulta, filia Sion") touch on the theme. Yet the rest of the contents curiously seem to play down that relationship and instead draw more attention to Venetian publications of the time, with selections by Dario Castello, Biagio Marini, Alessandro Grandi, Martino Pesenti, Orazio Tarditi, Giovanni Carrone, Ignazio Donati, and Benedetto Rè. Perhaps this reflects the situation in Venice more realistically than basing a program entirely around two great composers, and listeners get a chance to hear how the stile moderno of the early Baroque reached all quarters. The Gonzaga Band consists of six members, including soprano Faye Newton, violinists Oliver Webber and Theresa Caudle (who also plays cornett), cornettist Helen Roberts, and organist and harpsichordist Steven Devine, under the direction of cornettist Jamie Savan. The rather small ensemble would be considered intimate except for the resonant church acoustics that put the musicians at a remove. Yet Newton's virtuosic singing and the group's idiomatic playing are quite polished and clear, so the performances shine through any aural haziness.

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