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Volgendo il ciel – Movete al mio bel suon, SV154
Madrigals, Book 8, published in 1638
author of text

'Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss' (CDA68019)
Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss
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'Monteverdi: Il ballo delle ingrate & other works' (CDH55165)
Monteverdi: Il ballo delle ingrate & other works
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55165  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 3 on CDH55165 [9'18] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Ballo a 5 con doi violini: Movete al mio bel suon le piante snelle
Ballo a 5, seconda parte: Ei l'armi cinse, e su destrier alato
Introduzione al ballo: Volgendo il ciel per l'immortal sentiero

Volgendo il ciel – Movete al mio bel suon, SV154
Book 8—the Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (‘Warlike and amorous madrigals’) of 1638—is dedicated to the Emperor Ferdinand III. The title-page of states that the collection includes some ‘small works in a theatrical manner’, among them the Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and two ballets. One of these—Volgendo il ciel—may have been sent by Monteverdi to Vienna in 1636 for the coronation of the new emperor. Like all Monteverdi’s ballets, it involves solo and ensemble music for voices as well as instrumental music. The text is by the Florentine poet Ottavio Rinuccini and was originally written in honour of Henry IV of France. For Vienna, various references in the text were changed to suit the new context.

The ballet begins with an instrumental entrata for the dancers, and the Poet sings a prologue, punctuated by the music of the entrata, in which he envisages an age of peace under Ferdinand’s rule. Taking a lyre, he addresses Ferdinand, and then invites the ladies to dance and the nymphs of the Danube (Istro) to join them. They dance first to a chorus, ‘Movete al mio bel suon’, and then to ‘any other dance without song’ (Monteverdi does not supply this) before the second part of ‘Movete al mio bel suon’. Although Monteverdi’s ballet is itself brief, it was probably intended to be performed in the midst of other music, and may have been followed by social dancing.

from notes by John Whenham © 2014

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Details for CDA68019 track 2
Ballo a 5 con doi violini: Movete al mio bel suon le piante snelle
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 2
    Release date: February 2014
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