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Monteverdi: Pianto della Madonna
Claudio Monteverdi, Biagio Marini, Costanzo Antegnati
Monteverdi: Pianto della Madonna
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

Monteverdi's larger choral pieces are so masterly that they tend to overshadow his chamber-scale sacred music--the solo works in particular. Occasionally one or two of these exquisite motets will appear on a collection su...  more »

      
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Monteverdi's larger choral pieces are so masterly that they tend to overshadow his chamber-scale sacred music--the solo works in particular. Occasionally one or two of these exquisite motets will appear on a collection such as Paul McCreesh's Venetian Vespers, but rarely do they become the focus of an entire recording as they are here. The much-admired early-music diva Maria Cristina Kiehr has a slightly constricted quality to her voice that won't appeal to everyone, but her very narrow vibrato colors her sound without affecting her accuracy of pitch, spotless coloratura, or blend with period instruments (played beautifully here by Concerto Soave). Kiehr also uses her command of dynamics and phrasing with a subtlety that really puts the rhetoric of each piece across--check out her echo effects and crescendos in the motet "for solo voice in dialogue" Jubilet and the joyful Laudate Dominum. Her gentle manner works especially well with the title track: the Pianto della Madonna is Monteverdi's own reworking of his famous Lamento d'Arianna as a solo depicting the Virgin Mary's grief at the foot of the Cross. The slightly overwrought distress of the original Lamento could be inappropriate to such a sacred subject, but Kiehr's emotive yet dignified approach in the Pianto has a genuinely moving effect. --Matthew Westphal
 

CD Reviews

Exquisite small-scale Monteverdi from an impressive soprano
J E Bradshaw | England | 04/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The more Monteverdi's music is performed and recorded the more apparent is his extraordinary versatily in composing music of supreme quality for secular and liturgical use. Although his surviving operas and his larger-scale liturgical compositions are well known, especially the magical Vespers of 1610 and his four-part Mass, the smaller liturgical works are only now receiving their due acknowledgement. Harmonia Mundi's CD 'Pianto della Madonna' includes ten well-chosen motets for solo voice from various published collections, among them two from the best known, the 'Selva Morale e Spirituale' of 1640, with a pretty little sonata by Marini and three short organ pieces by Antegnati, Marini and Merulo. With the exception of the unique 'Pianto della Madonna', based on the famous 'Lamento dell'Arianna' from the lost opera, these fascinating counter-Reformation motets display two styles, some following the spare, elegant style of Peri and others the more elaborate and colourful one of Caccini, in which Monteverdi's operatic connections are on display. Among them are some truly lovely pieces, including the etherial 'O quam pulchra es', from Ghirlanda Sacra of 1625, and 'Jubilet', an intriguing echo-like dialogue very reminescent of the 'Due Seraphim' from the 1610 Vespers.The impressive Argentinian soprano Maria Cristina Keihr has a voice with an unusual and pleasing timbre, and which sounds well throughout her extensive range. She has almost no vibrato and an exceptionally clear and well-controlled delivery, even in Monteverdi's elaborate ornamentation, and is clearly completely at ease with the music of the period. The small band, 'Concerto Soave', of violin, viola da gamba, harpsichord, archlute, and harp, directed by harpsichordist and co-founder (with Keihr) Jean-Marc Aymes, is also first class, although in many of the motets its role is discreet and supportive. There are exceptions, motets where they play a more prominent part, and they simply sparkle in 'Confitebor', from 'Messa a quattro voce e Salmi' of 1650, the first of fourteen superb tracks in 61'28 of exquisite small-scale Monteverdi."
This is the real Monteverdi
J.H.A.M. Hilberink | Maastricht Netherlands Europe | 04/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Searching for the right interpretation of this music it took me over 25 years to find this extraordinary performance by Maria Christina Kiehr e.o. Finally this wonderful music is interprated in my personal taste. But how could it not be, as Kiehr is a member of the 'Vlaamse School' with Rene Jacobs and Philippe Herreweghe as most prominent members and master teachers. If you listen i.e. to track 4: 'O quam pulchra es' then you might experience what I mean. This is the right way to travel to the real Monteverdi. She is at the same level as Andreas Scholl. I hope more musicians will realize this in the future. Well done Maria Christina, I know it was the hard way, because you experienced lots of criticism. I really hope you enjoy us with your lovely voice again and again in future. Every aincient music lover should take notice of this recording, it is a wonderfull experience. Five stars!"