Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Flora (1559, detail) by Jan Massys (1509-1575)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA68019
Recording details: March 2013
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs & Robert Cammidge
Release date: February 2014
Total duration: 20 minutes 3 seconds

'The latest disc from Jonathan Cohen’s virtuoso ensemble Arcangelo is a musical love story, complete with lovers’ quarrel, tearful partings and tragic endings. Bringing together the Sestinas from Books 6-8 of Monteverdi’s madrigals, the programme explores the gamut of the composer’s mature style, evolving from the crystallised 'prima prattica' perfection of Book 6 to the 'genere concitato' (agitated style) of Book 8. All of Cohen’s singers come from the world of opera, and it shows in performances that place the drama of 'le parole' to the fore. The astonishing harmonic flexibility and melodic narrative of Monteverdi’s writing translates here into urgent drama … among so much vocal athleticism, it’s still the instrumentalists of the ensemble that dominate, setting the disc apart from the excellent I Fagiolini recordings that come closest vocally to this kind of abandon. Sitting midway between the nervous energy of Alessandrini’s Concerto Italiano and the more measured intensity of Jordi Savall for the Book 8 works, Arcangelo’s musicians deploy rough-edged expressive risk-taking within a framework of complete stylistic control' (Gramophone) » More

'These are not easy pieces, but the opening ballet swings along with panache, and there is some excellent tenor solo singing in the first section … the two sopranos in the duet Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben show poise and taste' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

'This is a wonderful disc, presenting Monteverdi the dramatist and the creator of vivid aural pictures. Presented in such vivid recorded sound and by such accomplished musicians, intuitively directed by the excellent Jonathan Cohen, it provides an invaluable and hugely attractive addition to the composer’s already generous representation on disc' (International Record Review) » More

Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, SV153
composer
first performed at the 1624 Venice Carnival; published in Madrigals, Book 8, in 1638
author of text
from Gerusalemme liberata

Other recordings available for download
Red Byrd, The Parley of Instruments
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda was first performed in Venice in Carnival 1624 in the apartment of Girolamo Mocenigo, now part of the Danieli Hotel. In the Combattimento Monteverdi claimed to have recreated the ‘agitated’ (concitato) genus ‘described by Plato in the third book of his Rhetoric [Republic] in these words: “Take that harmony that would fittingly imitate the utterances of a brave man who is engaged in warfare”.’ In its purest form, Monteverdi’s genere concitato involves dividing a semibreve into sixteen semiquavers repeated rapidly one after the other, a technique that can be heard most clearly in the passage where the narrator begins ‘L’onta irrita lo sdegno a la vendetta’.

The Combattimento sets an extended passage from Torquato Tasso’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata. Tasso’s text, set in the time of the first crusade, tells of the combat between the Christian knight Tancredi and the Saracen maiden Clorinda. Paradoxically, the two are lovers, but their faces are hidden by armour when they meet in battle. Tancredi deals Clorinda a mortal blow and, removing her helmet, recognizes her. In Clorinda’s dying moments Tancredi baptizes her, and the work ends with a touching passage in which she sees heaven opening to receive her.

Most of the action of the Combattimento is conveyed by a narrator (Testo—the text). Nevertheless, it is intended to be acted out by the combatants. Monteverdi describes how this should be done:

Clorinda, armed and on foot, followed by Tancredi, armed, on a Marian horse [cavallo mariano] enter unexpectedly (after some madrigals without action have been sung) from the side of the room in which the music is performed, and the narrator will then begin the singing. They will perform steps and gestures in the way expressed by the oration … observing diligently those measures, blows and steps, and the instrumentalists’ sounds, excited or soft.

In order to convey the sounds of battle, Monteverdi includes other musical gestures—the trotting of a horse (motto del cavallo), trumpet fanfares, instrumental passages representing the two warriors circling each other and the sounds of their swords clashing, and the first ever example of written-out pizzicato to illustrate Tancredi and Clorinda hitting each other with the pommels of their swords.

from notes by John Whenham © 2014


Other albums featuring this work
'Monteverdi: Il ballo delle ingrate & other works' (CDH55165)
Monteverdi: Il ballo delle ingrate & other works
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55165  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch