‘What touches and appeals to me most in the music of Monteverdi is the ultimate symbiosis between music and text,’ says the Dutch soprano Wendy Roobol. ‘He unites the two in such a way that the outcome is more than the sum of the parts. As a result, his music has enormous sincerity, richness and drama.’
As a central member of the vocal consort Le nuove musiche directed by Krijn Koetsveld, the harpsichordist on this album, Wendy Roobol has performed the complete madrigals of Monteverdi in critically acclaimed recordings for Brilliant Classics.
Her first solo album draws on that expertise to present a unique programme of Marian hymns from around Europe. The great names of the Italian school are naturally represented, opening with the title-song by Francesca Caccini (talented daughter of Giulio Caccini) and reaching a fitting climax with Salve, O Regina by Monteverdi and the Lament of the Madonna from his Selva morale e spirituale collection.
In between those unchallenged masterpieces of the late Renaissance, Wendy Roobol ventures across Europe, first to Switzerland, for a sensuous Ave Maria by Johann Melchior Gletle, then to mid-Germany for a Magnificat by Philipp Friedrich Böddecker. These marvellous but little-known pieces have been recorded before, but not in their originally intended format of solo soprano with consort accompaniment, and these performances are graced by intense sensitivity and a spirit of intimacy that captures the devotional atmosphere of a Marian chapel.
Giovanni Felice Sances is another little-known composer represented here, but whose 1636 Stabat mater is touched by rich and affective dissonance. It makes a fine complement to the plainer declamation of the Sancta mater by the German-Italian lutenist Girolamo Kapsberger.