Hyperion Records

Ohimè il bel viso, ohimè il soave sguardo, SV112
composer
Madrigals, Book 6
author of text

Recordings
'Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss' (CDA68019)
Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss
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Details

Ohimè il bel viso, ohimè il soave sguardo, SV112
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In Book 6, the sestina is followed immediately by a setting of Petrarch’s sonnet Ohimè il bel viso, ohimè il soave sguardo, the first in his Canzoniere reflecting his sense of loss after the death of his beloved Laura. In Monteverdi’s setting the cry ‘Ohimè’ (‘Alas’) is set for solo sopranos, against a trio of male voices. But whereas in the sestina Monteverdi invented repeated cries where the poet supplied only one, here Petrarch repeats the word over and over again in the first five lines of his text, fully supporting Monteverdi’s long, plangent musical paragraph. Clear parallels between the music of Ohimè il bel viso and that of the sestina suggest that the Petrarch setting may also be a tribute to Caterina Martinelli, and, indeed, Petrarch’s description of Laura could equally well have described the young singer, whose tombstone was inscribed:

Caterina Martinelli … dear above all to Vincenzo, Serene Duke of Mantua, for that famous excellence, the sweetness of her manner, her beauty, her grace and charm, snatched away, alas, by bitter death.

from notes by John Whenham © 2014

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA68019 track 9
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-14-01909
Duration
4'22
Recording date
15 March 2013
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt & Robert Cammidge
Hyperion usage
  1. Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss (CDA68019)
    Disc 1 Track 9
    Release date: February 2014
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