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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67519
Recording details: February 2004
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Jonathan Stokes
Release date: November 2005
Total duration: 8 minutes 39 seconds

'Robert King never rushes the music but cannily treads the fine line between dizzying excitement and authoritative splendour. Even if you already admire seminal recordings of Monteverdi sacred music by the likes of Andrew Parrott, Konrad Junghänel and Rinaldo Alessandrini, there are plenty of less familiar gems included that make this series essential' (Gramophone)

'This series of recordings is proving to be the definitive account of the neglected side of Monteverdi’s genius, and one that’s unlikely to be surpassed in range and quality for many years' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Robert King's essential exploration of Monteverdi offers yet more evidence of the master's genius. Here the familiar sits with lesser known settings of sacred settings, all works of staggering beauty. King and the soloists capture the essence of this music, with outstanding contributions from Carolyn Sampson, Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist' (The Independent)

'This magnificent series goes from strength to strength, each fresh instalment reaching even more stratospheric standards of excellence than its predecessor' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The opening Laetatus sum is irresistible—typical in its bounce and clarity of every track in the fourth volume of the King's Consort's survey of sacred Monteverdi … Monteverdi collectors shouldn't hesitate' (The Times)

'All played and sung with style' (The Sunday Times)

'I'm inclined to think this superbly engineered disc the most successful issue yet in a splendid series. Fervently recommended' (Goldberg)

'The King's Consort has grown in confidence in this music as the recordings progress; each of these pieces is a joy. The soloists are uniformly excellent, with James Gilchrist comining into his own … These are Rolls-Royce recordings, drawing on the very best of British musicians and recording experience. Even the ripieno choir is peopled with some of the country's most experienced singers' (Early Music)

Salve regina I 1640
composer
Selva morale e spirituale (1640/1)
author of text
Antiphon to the Virgin Mary from Trinity until Advent

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Despite its title, the text of this setting for two tenors is a complex conflation of the ‘Salve Regina’ antiphon with the text of the first six verses of ‘Audi coelum’, an apparently freely invented Marian text that Monteverdi had first set in the Vespers of 1610. He distinguishes between the two texts by setting the ‘Salve Regina’ with an accompaniment for two violins, while ‘Audi coelum’ is set in a more backward-looking style, with rhetorical declamation punctuated by passages of the virtuoso ornamentation that was the stock-in-trade of professional singers of the seventeenth century. The text of ‘Audi coelum’ itself also looks backward to the long tradition in theatrical music of using echoes in which the last word sung by one voice is repeated by the other, or truncated to form a new word in answer.

The extraordinary conflation of texts in this setting may have something to do with the Venetians’ perception of their city. Venice, Europe’s gateway to the East, saw itself as being under the special protection of the Virgin Mary. In St Jerome’s commentary on Ezechiel 44:2, Ezechiel’s description of the eastern gate of the temple, through which the Lord God had entered, is interpreted as prophesying the entrance of Christ into the world through Mary, who is thus described in ‘Audi coelum’ as ‘portal of the East … this sacred and joyful portal through which death was expelled and life renewed’. It may be no coincidence, then, that the first words taken from the ‘Salve Regina’ are heard immediately after the words ‘porta orientalis’ in the ‘Audi coelum’ text.

from notes by John Whenham © 2005

Other albums featuring this work
'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4' (SACDA67519)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4
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