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Track(s) taken from CDA68019

Or che 'l ciel e la terra e 'l vento tace, SV147

Madrigals, Book 8, published in 1638
author of text

Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: March 2013
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt & Robert Cammidge
Release date: February 2014
Total duration: 8 minutes 13 seconds

Cover artwork: Flora (1559, detail) by Jan Massys (1509-1575)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'The latest disc from Jonathan Cohen’s virtuoso ensemble Arcangelo is a musical love story, complete with lovers’ quarrel, tearful partings and tragic endings. Bringing together the Sestinas from Books 6-8 of Monteverdi’s madrigals, the programme explores the gamut of the composer’s mature style, evolving from the crystallised 'prima prattica' perfection of Book 6 to the 'genere concitato' (agitated style) of Book 8. All of Cohen’s singers come from the world of opera, and it shows in performances that place the drama of 'le parole' to the fore. The astonishing harmonic flexibility and melodic narrative of Monteverdi’s writing translates here into urgent drama … among so much vocal athleticism, it’s still the instrumentalists of the ensemble that dominate, setting the disc apart from the excellent I Fagiolini recordings that come closest vocally to this kind of abandon. Sitting midway between the nervous energy of Alessandrini’s Concerto Italiano and the more measured intensity of Jordi Savall for the Book 8 works, Arcangelo’s musicians deploy rough-edged expressive risk-taking within a framework of complete stylistic control' (Gramophone)

'These are not easy pieces, but the opening ballet swings along with panache, and there is some excellent tenor solo singing in the first section … the two sopranos in the duet Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben show poise and taste' (BBC Music Magazine)» More

'This is a wonderful disc, presenting Monteverdi the dramatist and the creator of vivid aural pictures. Presented in such vivid recorded sound and by such accomplished musicians, intuitively directed by the excellent Jonathan Cohen, it provides an invaluable and hugely attractive addition to the composer’s already generous representation on disc' (International Record Review)» More
Having devised the genere concitato, Monteverdi went on to employ it in other works. His large-scale setting for six voices, two violins and continuo of Petrarch’s sonnet Or che ’l ciel e la terra e ’l vento tace begins with a magical portrayal of the stillness of night in the midst of which a lover cries out, tormented by thoughts of his beloved. The words ‘guerra è il mio stato’ provide Monteverdi with the cue to begin two passages of concitato writing, with rapid semiquavers in the violins and pacing motifs in the voices. The ‘war’ here is, of course, psychological, and Or che ’l ciel, like all the ‘warlike’ madrigals, is as much about love as the ‘amorous’ madrigals in the second part of Book 8. Its finest moment occurs at the end of the setting, where Monteverdi sets the words ‘tanto dalla salute mia son lunge’ (‘so far from my usual well-being am I’) in which the high voices and violins of the full ensemble, beginning low in pitch, and the male voices beginning high, move gradually across each other to the other extremes of their registers in a spine-tingling passage that memorably demonstrates the genius of Monteverdi’s invention.

from notes by John Whenham © 2014

Concepteur du genere concitato, Monteverdi l’employa dans d’autres œuvres. Sa version d’envergure (six voix, deux violons et continuo) du sonnet de Pétrarque Or che ’l ciel e la terra e ’l vento tace s’ouvre sur un tableau magique de la quiétude nocturne au cœur de laquelle un amant crie, tourmenté en songeant à sa bien-aimée. Les mots «guerra è il mio stato» («la guerre est mon état») permettent à Monteverdi d’amorcer deux passages d’écriture concitato, avec de véloces doubles croches aux violons et des motifs vocaux rythmés. La «guerre» est ici «psychologique», bien sûr, et, comme tous les madrigaux «guerriers», Or che ’l ciel traite autant de l’amour que les madrigaux «amoureux» de la deuxième partie du Livre 8. Les plus beaux moments surviennent à la fin de l’œuvre, quand Monteverdi exprime en musique les mots «tanto dalla salute mia son lunge» («je suis si loin de mon salut»): les voix supérieures et les violons de l’ensemble au complet, partant dans les graves, ainsi que les voix masculines démarrant dans les aigus, évoluent peu à peu vers l’extrême opposé de leur registre en un passage à vous faire frissonner, qui montre de manière mémorable le génie de l’invention monteverdienne.

extrait des notes rédigées par John Whenham © 2014
Français: Hypérion

Nachdem er den erregten Stil entwickelt hatte, verwendete Monteverdi ihn auch in anderen Werken. Seine großangelegte Vertonung von Petrarcas Sonett Or che ’l ciel e la terra e ’l vento tace für sechs Singstimmen, zwei Violinen und Continuo beginnt mit einer zauberhaften Darstellung der nächtlichen Stille, in die ein Liebender, gequält von Gedanken an seine Geliebte, hinein ruft. Die Worte „guerra è il mio stato“ („Krieg ist mein Zustand“) bringen zwei Passagen im genere concitato mit sich, der sich in schnellen Sechzehntelpassagen in den Streichern und schreitenden Motiven in den Singstimmen äußert. Der „Krieg“ ist hier natürlich ein Seelenzustand und Or che ’l ciel handelt, ebenso wie alle anderen „kriegerischen“ Madrigale, genauso von der Liebe wie die „sinnlichen“ Madrigale im zweiten Teil des 8. Madrigalbuchs. Der spektakulärste Abschnitt kommt am Schluss des Stückes, wo Monteverdi die Worte „tanto dalla salute mia son lunge“ („so weit entfernt bin ich von meinem Heil“) vertont. Die hohen Stimmen und die Violinen des Ensembles beginnen in tiefer Lage und steigen allmählich in die Höhe und die Männerstimmen beginnen in hoher Lage und gleiten in die Tiefe; die beiden Stimmgruppen überkreuzen sich und erreichen schließlich das jeweils andere Extrem ihres Registers—eine ergreifende Passage, die Monteverdis geniale Schöpferkraft in denkwürdiger Weise demonstriert.

aus dem Begleittext von John Whenham © 2014
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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