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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67487
Recording details: February 2004
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Jonathan Stokes & Philip Hobbs
Release date: November 2004
Total duration: 3 minutes 54 seconds

'It would be difficult to praise these performances to highly … the clarity and sheer élan here defeat close rival performances by William Christie and Konrad Junghänel' (BBC Music Magazine)

'No Monteverdi enthusiast will want to be without this superb selection … Robert King's light-footed approach to the big pieces, with brisk speeds and crisp, springy rhythms, keeps up both the momentum and the excitement to produce some thrilling climaxes' (The Daily Telegraph)

'We have come to expect nothing but first rate perfomances from Robert King and his colleagues, and this recording does not disappoint. Hyperion's recorded sound is clear but warm, sumptuous, and intense, as befits the music' (American Record Guide)

'The warmly enveloping acoustic is exactly right for this opulent, exciting music; and Robert King’s trusty group disport themselves with the usual trim gusto. With performances like these I’d be happy if this series rolled on forever' (The Times)

'this is another fine issue to add to a series that has now firmly established its credentials as yet one more (brilliently plumed) feather in the respective caps of King and Hyperion' (Fanfare, USA)

Sancta Maria a 2 e B.c.
Giovanni Battista Ala anthology (1618)
author of text
Magnificat Antiphon for First Vespers on Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the Roman liturgy (though not in the liturgy of St Mark’s) ‘Sancta Maria, succurre miseris’ was the antiphon commonly sung before the Magnificat at first Vespers on Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Monteverdi’s exquisite setting for soprano duet, first issued in a anthology published in 1618 by the Milanese choirmaster Giovanni Battista Ala, would thus have found widespread use within the Roman Catholic church. It is tempting, though, to think that the unusual petition ‘intercede for the devout female sex’ (‘intercede pro devoto femineo sexu’) might also have prompted its use by nuns as a more general devotional motet, for in Venice, as elsewhere in seventeenth-century Italy, sacred music flourished not only in establishments with all-male choirs, but also in convents. In this setting Monteverdi makes use of the litany plainsong that he also employed for the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria in the 1610 Vespers. The first two sets of petitions are begun in plainsong and then extended by the second voice in a freer, more passionate, recitative style. For the final petition, Monteverdi treats the plainsong as a duet, rising in urgency before a release into triple-time writing and an extended treatment of the final two lines of text.

from notes by John Whenham © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 3' (SACDA67487)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 3
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