WHAT COMPELS US TO RECORD THE COMPLETE MADRIGALS OF MONTEVERDI?
Monteverdi’s music is the turning point between Renaissance and Baroque, madrigal and opera, prima and seconda prattica. In his 9 volumes of madrigals, we can trace the development of both a fascinating personality and the creativity of his output. At the time, there were serious disputes within the church about what style was appropriate for sacred music. His Maria Vespers show his genius in weaving the new, more operatic style imperceptibly together with the old-fashioned sacred style.
There was nothing unusual about a choirboy studying composition, but this choirboy had something special. He could do more than just follow the strict rules of counterpoint; he had a talent for setting texts so that both poetry and music shone. We see this brilliant duality grow through his nine books. Halfway through the collection, we see a sudden change; a turning to the new basso continuo, unusual harmonies, a solo voice with a single bassline. In these 200 madrigals, we can see the history of western music reflected in miniature.
Poetry as fertile soil
Italian poetry in the 15th and 16th centuries was in full bloom; Monteverdi knew and set the greatest hits of the time, including the sonnets of Petrarch, the master of courtly love. But he also tackled the powerful epic Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso, which proved a source of inspiration for both P.C. Hooft and Goethe.
The 400th anniversary of this outpouring of creative genius felt to us the perfect moment to record our fascination with Monteverdi. Because of the beauty of the poetry, married with such harmony to the deceptively simple yet deeply emotional melodies. Because of the endlessly varied games between high and low, monodic and polyphonic, a cappella or accompanied by a generous bass. Because of the peace, the declamation, the tragic solitude and the utmost purity of unity.
7 October 2021
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
Our music theatre production has a new premiere date! We will then go on tour.
Arianna is a reconstruction of the lost Monteverdi opera by Florian Magnus Maier, with poems by Willem Kloos and directed by Sybrand van der Werf.
Want to know more about it? Read the article (in Dutch) by the Groene Amsterdammer, October 2019.