Hyperion Records

Salve regina I 1640
Selva morale e spirituale (1640/1)
author of text
Antiphon to the Virgin Mary from Trinity until Advent

'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4' (CDA67519)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4
'Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4' (SACDA67519)
Monteverdi: The Sacred Music, Vol. 4
This album is not yet available for download SACDA67519  Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
Track 4 on CDA67519 [8'39]
Track 4 on SACDA67519 [8'39] Super-Audio CD — Deleted

Salve regina I 1640
Despite its title, the text of this setting for two tenors is a complex conflation of the ‘Salve Regina’ antiphon with the text of the first six verses of ‘Audi coelum’, an apparently freely invented Marian text that Monteverdi had first set in the Vespers of 1610. He distinguishes between the two texts by setting the ‘Salve Regina’ with an accompaniment for two violins, while ‘Audi coelum’ is set in a more backward-looking style, with rhetorical declamation punctuated by passages of the virtuoso ornamentation that was the stock-in-trade of professional singers of the seventeenth century. The text of ‘Audi coelum’ itself also looks backward to the long tradition in theatrical music of using echoes in which the last word sung by one voice is repeated by the other, or truncated to form a new word in answer.

The extraordinary conflation of texts in this setting may have something to do with the Venetians’ perception of their city. Venice, Europe’s gateway to the East, saw itself as being under the special protection of the Virgin Mary. In St Jerome’s commentary on Ezechiel 44:2, Ezechiel’s description of the eastern gate of the temple, through which the Lord God had entered, is interpreted as prophesying the entrance of Christ into the world through Mary, who is thus described in ‘Audi coelum’ as ‘portal of the East … this sacred and joyful portal through which death was expelled and life renewed’. It may be no coincidence, then, that the first words taken from the ‘Salve Regina’ are heard immediately after the words ‘porta orientalis’ in the ‘Audi coelum’ text.

from notes by John Whenham © 2005

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