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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67428
Recording details: February 2003
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: October 2003
Total duration: 7 minutes 42 seconds

'This is life-enhancing stuff, breathtakingly exciting at times, exquisitely beautiful at others. If King and his forces maintain the standard they set here, this series is surely set to be the definitive representation of Monteverdi on disc' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The King's Consort shows complete affinity with both the dramatic and the lyrical aspects of Monteverdi's style. No ensemble could be better suited to this magnificent undertaking' (The Daily Telegraph)

'…one of the glories of the new disc is the gloriously full-toned and marvelously projected singing of his two sopranos, Carolyn Sampson and Rebecca Outram … A further distinct plus is Hyperion's superb engineering, which presents the performances with glowing, yet sharply defined immediacy' (Fanfare, USA)

'…a highly successful opening instalment' (Goldberg)

'This music is already familiar from other recordings of Venetian vespers, yet these are magisterial performances, the Christmas setting giving them an appropriately festive focus' (Early Music)

Beatus vir I a 6 voci concertato 1640
composer
Selva morale e spirituale (1640/1)
author of text
Psalm 111 (112)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
à 6 voci concertato con due violini et 3 viole da brazzo ovvero 3 Tromboni quali anco si ponno lasciare

The first ‘Beatus vir’ is one of the most attractive and inspired settings of the Selva morale and one of the few sacred works of Monteverdi’s later years that has become widely known. The musical setting is constructed in three sections: A (verses 1 to 4), B (verses 5 to 8), A1 (verse 9) plus the Gloria Patri. The two A sections are an elaboration on a large scale of the music that Monteverdi had earlier invented for a slight, but very charming canzonetta for two voices and violins, ‘Chiome d’oro’ (Hair of gold) included in his seventh book of madrigals (1619). They are set over a ‘walking’ bass using recurring patterns of notes (though not quite a ground bass) of a kind that became popular in Venetian song-books of the 1620s and ’30s. And as if this were not enough to bind the texture, Monteverdi also repeats the opening phrase ‘Beatus vir’ or, in its fuller form ‘Beatus vir qui timet Dominum’ as a refrain. In the second A section he produces particularly vivid musical images of the wicked man, his desires thwarted, gnashing his teeth in angry envy of the (admittedly rather smug) righteous and blessed man. In the B section of the setting, perhaps prompted by the initial image of happiness, Monteverdi changes to triple time and a new set of bass patterns; again, not quite a ground bass, but with recognizable repetitions.

from notes by John Whenham © 2003

Other albums featuring this work
'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 1' (SACDA67428)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 1
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