Hyperion Records

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

'Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss' (CDA68019)
Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £12.00 CDA68019  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Ohimè il bel viso, ohimè il soave sguardo, SV112
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
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
   English   Français   Deutsch