15 Sep 2016

Monteverdi Madrigali Vol.1 Cremona


Monteverdi Madrigali Vol.1 Cremona
Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew
Les Arts Florissants Editions AF005


In this splendid selection of madrigals from Monteverdi’s first three books, as lovers bare their souls so the singers are also starkly exposed. This album, live and intimate, is one of the most closely recorded discs of its kind. More modest than the emotional quick-fire performances of, say, La Venexiana or Concerto Italiano, the close-up world of Les Arts Florissants is what TV acting is to stage acting. Such extreme intimacy allows for whole worlds of nuance to hang on the smallest of gestures: a slight quavering on a long note, or a snatched breath. For the listener this album is as close to sitting in the middle of the performance as it is possible to imagine. Interpretatively, it pays homage The Consort of Musicke’s performances from the1980s by lending a greater sense of personal profundity to the words and suggesting an affinity with earlier madrigalists such as Marenzio. [...]


To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (2016: Awards Issue) 

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