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Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
Madrigals Book 4:-

II Quarto Libro de’ Madrigali, 1603
Ah, dolente partita [4:01]
Cor mio, mentre vi miro [2:32]
Sfogava con le stelle [4:30]
Volgea l’anima mia soavente [4:16]
Anima mia, perdona [3:26]
Che se tu se’il cor mio [4:05]
Luci serene e chiare [3:59]
La piaga c’ho nel core [2:56]
Voi pur da me partite, anima dura [4:49]
A un giro sol de’belli occhi lucenti [2:46]
Ohime, se tanto amate [3:42]
Io mi son giovinetta [2:34]
Quell’angellin che canta [2:30]
Non piu Guerra, pietate [3:30]
Si, ch’io vorrei morire [4:02]
Anima dolorosa [3:54]
Anima del cor mio [3:10]
Longed a te, cor mio [3:36]
Piagn’e sospira [5:21]
Delitiae Musicae/Marco Longhini
rec. Chiesa di San Pietro, Vincoli, Azzago, Verona, Italy, 28 July - 2 August 2002. DDD
NAXOS 8.555310 [73:46]

Monteverdi’s third book of madrigals was a huge success, but his eager public had to wait an unusually long eleven years before the publication of the fourth book (in Venice in 1603). In the meantime the composer travelled, looked for a job, got married and had a child. Fortunately, we’ve not had to wait that long for the Naxos issue of Monteverdi’s fourth book!

The Italian early music ensemble Delitiae Musicae and their director, Marco Longhini, are experts in the field of Italian early music. As a result, this is a highly scholarly production – both in terms of the interesting and informative sleeve-notes, and in the performance, which is authentic whilst retaining traditional improvisatory freedom.

The madrigals - to poems mainly by Guarini, Gatti, and Arlotti - are typically love songs, most of them fairly melancholic but a few – such as the jollier Quell’angellin che canta are less lugubrious! Monteverdi employs a fair amount of fantastic word-painting ("madrigalismo"), as beautifully exemplified in the first madrigal, Ah, dolente Partita where two voices on same voice line then divide into discord and mourning on the words "dolente partita" ("grievous separation"). I also loved the musical depictions of fluttering wings in "vola" in Quell’angellin che canta, the amazing ululating laments of Ohime, se tanto amate (one wonders whether one has just walked into a Sophocles play!) and Piagn’e sospira - haunting enough to raise the hairs on the back of one’s neck!

This is truly masterful writing, with songs that are deeply heart-rending, or full of tremendous tenderness, all outstandingly performed. Delitiae Musicae produce a radiant clarity of sound and piercing intensity of voice (particularly from alto Paolo Faniullacci), with perfect intonation, excellent dynamics, stunning phrasing, and extremely sensitive accompaniment on the theorbo and cembalo. This really is beautiful ensemble singing, where the individual voices rise and fall back into unison like swelling waves.

Em Marshall



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