This is a small fragment from a sacred dramatic work jointly composed by Monteverdi with Salamone Rossi, Muzio Efrem and Alessandro Giunizzoni to words by the Mantuan actor and poet Giovanni Battista Andreini. Andreini’s wife Virginia sang in several of Monteverdi’s dramatic products in Mantua. In 1608 she created the title role of Arianna
and sang in Il ballo delle Ingrate
. Monteverdi’s surviving contribution is a short section of monody surrounded by a rich and characteristic sinfonia for five-part strings. It is sung as a prologue to the drama by the character Divine Grace.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1981