In 1650, seven years after Claudio Monteverdi’s death, the Venetian publisher Alessandro Vincenti, with the help of Francesco Cavalli, a student and successor of Monteverdi, decided to put together the compilation Messa a quattro voci et salmi. It was a unique tribute to Monteverdi. In an era when looking back was not fashionable, the preservation of written music was rare, and for the most part the names of dead musicians were quickly forgotten, Monteverdi’s fame seemed to persist for a long time.
In 1641 Monteverdi himself had compiled the collection Selva Morale et Spirituale. Perhaps he considered these to be the great treasures of his oeuvre. But there must have been many more. After all, music was always written for the Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum) and for special occasions, and Monteverdi was not excepted from this practice. Cavalli and Vincenti had plenty to choose from when putting together this beautiful compilation, to which Cavalli added his own Magnificat.
Alongside the Messa a quattro –church music in the old contrapuntal style – there is a lot of other beautiful music. We find the Confitebor in two different versions (Monteverdi was constantly modifying existing pieces) which gives us a nice insight into how he worked.
We also know that Monteverdi looked back to the old contrapuntal techniques in his church music. The Laudate pueri, Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus II and the Lauda Jerusalem for 5 voices are good examples of this. In contrast to this are the works where he looked forwards, where he translated the concertante practice into psalms such as Nisi Dominus I and the intoxicating Beatus vir. In the Laetatus sum, he lets the infinite possibilities over an infinitely repeating bass be heard.
The second CD begins with a mass that was written as an opening piece for the Marian Vespers: the Messa in illo tempore. And with this, we complete the circle. In 1610 Monteverdi began a church-music career that to the end of his life was notable for the enormous variety of styles he employed. We should be grateful that Cavalli and Vincenti, perhaps driven by commercial interests, left us this extra treasure.
- Recorded February 2021, October 2022, January & June 2023 at St Martinuskerk, Hoogland, The Netherlands.
- Booklet in English contains liner notes by director Krijn Koetsveld and profiles of the ensemble and its director.
- Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) composed two groundbreaking masses that showcase his innovative approach to sacred music. "Missa in illo tempore" and "Messa a 4 da cappella" reflect the transitional period between Renaissance and Baroque styles. Monteverdi skillfully combined traditional polyphony with expressive harmonies and bold contrasts, foreshadowing the dramatic tendencies of the Baroque era. The masses exhibit a profound spirituality, with moments of serene beauty and fervent intensity. Monteverdi's ingenious use of vocal and instrumental colors, coupled with his daring harmonic progressions, solidifies his reputation as a musical pioneer whose work paved the way for the Baroque grandeur to come.
- With this new recording Le Nuove Musiche conducted by Krijn Koetsveld presents a new highlight in their Monteverdi Pilgrimage, the projected recording of the complete works by Monteverdi. Their recording of the complete Madrigals received excellent reviews in the international press: “5 stars” (Volkskrant), “A polished, well-balanced sound… consistently musical and intelligent” (Early Music), “Again a convincing issue…excellent throughout” (Klassik.com), “Performance: 10. …an incredibly beautiful, excellent recording...”(Dutch magazine Luister).
- "Le Nuove Musiche easily withstands the comparison with most renowned ensembles in this particular repertoire. We hear it all: great singing talent, strong imagination, pure textual fidelity and diction, sharp-edged articulation in addition to a smooth phrasing, the ever-rhythmic rhythm with its striking stakes and that perfect sense of balance.” (Opus Klassiek).