Please wait...

Hyperion Records

SACDA67531/2 - Monteverdi: Vespers

Recording details: February 2006
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: May 2006
Total duration: 136 minutes 18 seconds


'This recording richly deserves a sheaf of awards. One for the astonishing speed of the turnaround between recording and release—just a couple of months. A second for bringing us the 1610 collection complete. A third for John Whenham's absolutely enthralling booklet essay. A fourth to all the many hundreds of people who donated to Hyperion's Appeal for Recording Funds in 2005, which made this recording possible. And a final fifth accolade to all the King's men (and women) who singly and severally know Monteverdi well enough not to have to over-sell him to unlock the music's magnificence' (International Record Review)

'Added to the "list of things to do before you die" should be "hearing Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers in as good a recording as you can find". This Monteverdi is truly mind-blowing. Vespers virgins need seek no further, and serious collectors are advised not to ignore what may prove to be more than one reviewer's "disc of the year"' (MusicWeb International)

'Wonderful music; wonderful performances. Justice has been done to Monteverdi' (The Times)

'Despite having heard four wonderful volumes of Monteverdi's sacred music from The King's Consort, and its 2004 Proms performance of the 1610 Vespers, I was still unprepared for the ecstatic consequences of taking seriously at least one aspect of Monteverdi's so-called seconda-pratica—using much freer counterpoint, with an increasing hierarchy of voices: that the word is mistress of the music. And what ecstasy!' (Gramophone)

'The majesty and contrapuntal wizardy of this fabulous work never fail to astonish and this is a very fine performance, making effective use of the spatial effects that are an integral part of the music's architecture … The choir of the King's Consort sing with virtuosic skill and purity of articulation' (Sunday Telegraph)

'… it is the motets that are the crowning glory, especially James Gilchrist's gorgeously sensuous Nigra Sum. His impassioned, full-throated singing, and skillful use of pauses, rubato and sudden pianissimos, turn the piece into a wonderfully spontaneous outpouring of erotic emotion' (Daily Telegraph)

'Solo and choral singing and the instrumental playing all attain the exceptional quality one has long come to expect with the conductor…unquestionably a major addition to the Vespers discography' (Fanfare, USA)

'Même en ayant d'autres (bonnes) versions en mémoire, celle-ci se situe parmi les toutes meilleures' (

'I can only join the label in saying 'thank you' to the many contributors who sent in funds, and I urge listeners everywhere to help the investment pay off by purchasing this set without delay. It's gorgeous and you'll love it, even if you already own other versions of this extraordinary work' (

'Any survey of the sheerly magnificent on CD over the past year will have to begin with Robert King's astounding new account of the Monteverdi Vespers on Hyperion, which is quite the most wonderful noise to come my way in years' (Fanfare, USA)

The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor) 2CDs Super-Audio CD Deleted  
Hyperion’s record of the month for May brings us the monumental Monteverdi Vespers—a perennial bastion of the choral repertory, and the fifth release in The King’s Consort’s acclaimed series: ‘The definitive representation of Monteverdi on disc’ (BBC Music Magazine). In 1610, disgruntled with his lot as choirmaster to the Duke of Mantua, Monteverdi set about compiling what was to become one of the most significant choral publications in history. At its heart lies the Vespers—a blistering array of virtuosic solo movements and magisterial choruses to texts from which can be assembled music suitable for any Solemn Vespers, whatever the forces available. Many movements offer abridged versions and a complete alternative Magnificat is provided. This performance is of the full work in all its opulent glory, with the addition of the simplified Magnificat and the Missa In illo tempore—a setting of the Mass without which no liturgical publication of the time could have been complete. And what a recording this turns out to be. As the cornerstone of The King’s Consort’s twenty-fifth anniversary concert series, the Vespers scored a knockout performance at The Sage Gateshead in February this year. Over the following weekend Robert King led the same jubilant forces in the creation of this recording, the fruit of some two-and-a-half decades of research and performance—the glorious result being a rendition cut free from transient artifice and embued with a degree of fully formed confidence that can only spring ‘from the heart’. A dazzling array of soloists join King—his choir and orchestra on top form—in presenting this new recording of a true masterpiece to the world: a project made possible by the generosity of all the many hundreds of people who donated to Hyperion’s appeal for recording funds in 2005. This new recording is available in multichannel DSD hybrid SACD and conventional CD formats.
   English   Français   Deutsch