The Sixteen, Harry Christophers – Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610 (2014) [HDTracks]

Title: Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: CORO/The Sixteen Productions Ltd.
Genre: Classical, Baroque, Choral
Quality: FLAC (tracks) [24bit/96kHz]
Total Time: 01:46:02
Total Size: 1,84 GB (d.booklet)

Recorded: St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn, London, 31 March – 3 April 2014

Following the success of their Monteverdi Selva morale e spirituale recordings, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers release a work often classed as one of the most significant collections of sacred music ever written: Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. It is a work grand in conception and structure; revolutionary techniques established in his secular music, such as recitar cantando - speak through singing - are brought to the church platform with stunning effect.
Harry writes: 'Its variety alone makes it unique – thrilling psalm settings with virtuosic writing for both multi-part choir and instrumentalists to exotic and sensual settings of texts from the Song of Songs for solo voices. Every movement is full of luscious harmonies, drama and an evocative musical language which is so beautifully constructed for all concerned.'

James Manheim, AllMusic:

Some people might not have picked the Sixteen, a British choir known for its clean, well-modulated versions of Baroque and Renaissance choral works, often a cappella, as the ideal interpreters of Monteverdi's sprawling, problematical, groundbreaking, and instrumentally accompanied Vespro della beata vergine, better known as the Vespers of 1610. Indeed, this album was released in late 2014, in tandem with a tour visiting various English cathedrals and concert halls, and the tour was the first the group had made with an accompanying instrumental group. the Sixteen is swollen here to between 20 and 22, probably a reasonable size for the scope of the work, a collection of liturgical texts probably connected with a major Marian feast day. The work was composed in Mantua but seems to have had the big, intricate spaces of St. Mark's in Venice as an intended destination, perhaps because the composer was already angling for a post there. Much of its instrumental accompaniment is unspecified, and it may have involved an exceptionally large orchestra like that of the opera Orfeo (1607), which it echoes at several points. These aspects don't come through in the Sixteen's version, which is compact, favors the choir's trademark sound over the orchestra, and uses a fairly small ensemble. On the other hand, one might say that conductor Harry Christophers knows his strengths and plays to them; those accustomed to buying music by the group known as the voices of Classic FM are going to get a good example here, with the Vespers' sober polyphonic choruses coming through cleanly. The soloists are subsumed within the overall concept rather than standing out as individuals, which is par for the course for the Sixteen, although surely a matter of taste in Monteverdi. Something else in the recording's favor is the sound, captured at the smaller St. Augustine's Church in London rather than at one of the tour's larger venues (like Winchester Cathedral). Again, it may not fit Monteverdi, but it fits the Sixteen very well. Christophers does not attempt to solve the problem of the differing "high" and "low" clef readings of the concluding Magnificat, simply presenting the music in both versions in order to fill out the second compact disc.


Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Vespers of 1610

CD 1
1. Deus in adiutorium meum intende
2. Dixit Dominus
3. Nigra sum
4. Laudate pueri
5. Pulchra es
6. Laetatus sum
7. Duo Seraphim
8. Nisi Dominus
9. Audi coelum
10. Lauda Ierusalem (high)
11. Sonata sopra Sancta Maria
12. Ave maris stella

CD 2
1. Mgnificat
2. Et exaltavit
3. Quia respexit
4. Quia fecit mihi magna
5. Et misericordia
6. Fecit potentiam
7. Deposuit potentes
8. Esurientes
9. Sucepit Israel
10. Sicut locutus est
11. Gloria Patri
12. Sicut erat
13. Lauda Ierusalem (low)
14. Mgnificat
15. Et exaltavit
16. Quia respexit
17. Quia fecit mihi magna
18. Et misericordia
19. Fecit potentiam
20. Deposuit potentes
21. Esurientes
22. Sucepit Israel
23. Sicut locutus est
24. Gloria Patri
25. Sicut erat

Soprano - Grace Davidson, Charlotte Mobbs
Tenor - Simon Berridge, Jeremy Budd, Mark Dobell
Bass - Ben Davies, Eamonn Dougan
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers - conductor

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers - Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610 (2014) [HDTracks]