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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67438
Recording details: February 2004
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Release date: April 2004
Total duration: 11 minutes 0 seconds

'Monteverdi is one of those composers who really does merit a complete recording of his output. The sacred works have been a little neglected, and this splendid new series, with its informed and intelligent booklet notes, is putting things right' (BBC Music Magazine)

'… there are joys here to melt icebergs … I want Volume 3 immediately' (The Times)

'Sumptuous surround sound and full-blooded performances from Robert King and Co. combine to thrilling effect in the second release in their fabulous Monteverdi cycle' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Where this new disc really comes into its own is in the small-scale motets, where King's outstanding roster of soloists would be exceedingly difficult to better … The rarely performed motets alone should ensure the present disc its place in any Monteverdi collection, while John Whenham's notes prove as valuable an asset as those Michael Talbot provided for King's Vivaldi sacred music traversal' (Fanfare, USA)

'I'll say it straight out: the result is truly exciting! The music is magnificent, and so is the interpretation … The architecture of the programme is particularly remarkable, and the album is built on balance, variety, contrast' (Goldberg)

'This is an absolutely crack team of soloists, all of whom are completely at home in Monteverdi's idiom. The tenors in particular luxuriate in the ornamental roulades …' (Early Music)

'En effet, c'est avec un tact et une finesse sans précédent que King mène son corpus instrumental … La douceur séraphique de Sampson et Outram dans le Venite, Siccientes n'a d'équivalent que la parfaite maîrise de la diction, des sons enflés et de la souplesse de ces voix' (Classica, France)

Letaniae della Beata Vergine a 6 voci
Messa a quattro voci e salmi (1650)
author of text
Litany of Loreto

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Devotion to the Virgin Mary was a powerful force in Venetian religious life, and the feeling that the city was under the special protection of the Virgin was reinforced when Pope Pius V declared that the Venetians’ victory over the Turks in 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto was due to the intervention of the Madonna of the Rosary. The many polyphonic settings of the ‘Litany of Loreto’ that were written for Venice and other Italian centres during the seventeenth century seem to have been prompted by the new wave of Marian devotion that followed the victory at Lepanto.

The ‘Litany of Loreto’, which Monteverdi sets, is so called because it seems to have originated for use at the Holy House of Loreto near Ancona, one of Italy’s most important shrines, a basilica built to contain the house at Nazareth in which the Holy Family lived, which was miraculously transported to Loreto by angels in the late thirteenth century. The litany – a series of invocations and petitions – seems to have been used at the basilica from the late fifteenth century, and its text was authorized for general use in the Catholic church by Pope Sixtus V in 1587, at a time when other litanies had been suppressed.

The litany begins and ends with invocations familiar from the text of the Mass – ‘Kyrie eleison’ and ‘Agnus Dei’ – though here they have new petitions added. Between these there are groups of petitions to the Trinity (beginning ‘Pater de caelis, Deus, miserere nobis’), and to Mary as saint (‘Sancta Maria’), mother (‘Mater Christi’) and virgin (‘Virgo prudentissima’), as personification of biblical and other images (‘Speculum iustitiae’), and as queen (‘Regina Angelorum’). Monteverdi’s setting, published in the posthumous 1650 collection, is in eight sections. He combines the Kyrie with the petitions to the Trinity to form the first section, and subdivides into two the group of petitions beginning ‘Speculum iustitiae’. Otherwise he follows the main groupings of petitions exactly. He creates variety in the setting by changing scorings, by using triple time for the sections beginning ‘Virgo prudentissima’ and ‘Regina Angelorum’ and by occasionally telescoping the petitions: in the ‘Mater Christi’ section, for example, he begins new invocations while the preceding ‘ora pro nobis’ is being sung.

from notes by John Whenham © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 2' (SACDA67438)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 2
Buy by post £10.50 This album is not yet available for download SACDA67438  Super-Audio CD  
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