Performers: Rossana Bertini, Cristina Miatello (sopranos), Bianca Simone (mezzo-soprano), Claudio Cavina (alto), Giuseppe Maletto, Sandro Naglia (tenors), Marcello Vargetto (bass)
Playing time: 62'
Recording date: May 1993
Monteverdi's Fourth Book of 5-part madrigals marks the climax of his song-writing in the prima prattica style derived from the secular polyphony of the 16th century (and earlier). As such, it is a publication of tremendous historical significance, summarizing as it does the views of one of western music's great musical geniuses toward the music which proceeded him. This is also some of his finest writing.
With the Fifth Book, Monteverdi moves on to the seconda prattica and the new definition of what was to become Baroque music. As opposed to some other cases, where such divisions might seem gratuitious, in Monteverdi's case the change was derived explicitly and self-consciously from his own aesthetic philosophy. The fact that this sort of thinking led to tremendous success surely makes it one of the great intellectual feats in western art.
Hence, in the Fourth Book, Monteverdi is indeed summarizing music as he sees it, preparing to embark on a new innovatory path. This is seen particularly through the wide variety of expressive and contrapuntal techniques used in the book, giving each madrigal an individual character. It is clearly a key publication (reissued seven times), and an easy choice for this overview.
To purchasing information for this disc.
To FAQ references to this recording.
To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb