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Beatus vir 1650
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In this setting of Psalm 111 (112), as in the more famous six-voice setting of the Selva morale (see volume 1), Monteverdi treats the first line of the psalm as a refrain, binding together what would otherwise be disparate sections of music which translate the images of the text in a more or less madrigalian manner – the full texture for ‘Potens in terra’ (verse 2), for example, or the sustained bass-line for ‘quia in aeternum non commovebitur’ (verse 5), or the angry quaver phrases for ‘irascetur’ (verse 9).

from notes by John Whenham © 2005

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