MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
Vespro della Beata Virgine (1610) [90:06]
Julie Cooper, Laura Oldfield (sopranos); David Bates (counter-tenor); Simon Wall, Nathan Vale, Nicholas Mulroy (tenors); Robert Rice, James Oldfield (baritones); Rodolfus Choir; David Goode (organ)
The English Cornet and Sackbut Ensemble; Southern Sinfonia/Ralph Allwood (conductor), Aidan Oliver (assistant conductor)
rec. Eton College Chapel 6, 7, 9 April 2007
Texts and translations included
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD109 [51:20 + 38:46]

As Clifford Bartlett rightly observes in his very helpful note with this set, any conductor wanting to perform the Monteverdi Vespers faces innumerable questions that must be addressed before even buying the music or booking the musicians. Should the usual antiphons be added, and if so how? In what order should the music be played? What forces are the vocal lines intended for? Should “Lauda Jerusalem” and the Magnificat be performed at the notated pitch or be transposed down a fourth? These are just a few of the most fundamental problems which make performing even, say, the Mozart Requiem seem straightforward in comparison. What seemed radical in the time of Denis Stevens or Denis Arnold has already been overtaken by more recent scholarship.
In many ways the answers that Ralph Allwood has given now the conventional ones. No antiphons are added and the order is that of the 1610 publication, omitting the six part Mass (a pity as there is plenty of room for it and it would have suited these singers well). A small choir is used, with the more ornate parts sung by soloists. All the movements are performed at written pitch, which as usual means that the “Lauda Jerusalem” is uncomfortable in places, but that at the end of the Magnificat the two tenors sail majestically up to their Gs rather than the distinctly less climatic Ds which result from a downward transposition. Whatever the musicological arguments, the swings and roundabouts of the musical implications of transposition seem to be fairly equally balanced.
The Rodolfus Choir is chosen from participants in the six annual Eton Choir Courses. Its members are all aged up to 25, and are a mixture of choral scholars and those at school or music college. The result is a stunningly fresh sound, and singing that mixes panache with discipline and highly polished technique. The soloists are presumably drawn from the choir and are generally accomplished and highly musical in their phrasing. I do miss the kind of individuality we hear from soloists in other recordings using well known and experienced singers, especially in the case of the tenors, but after a somewhat underpowered “Nigra sum” this soon ceased to bother me, and I greatly enjoyed this performance for what it is rather than in a comparison with other versions. The instrumental groups both play one to a part on period instruments, and like the choir they show complete technical control and musicianship. The recording is clear and the booklet well and readably set out.
With a work of such variety and imagination, wise listeners will not want to confine themselves to a single version. There are many worthy recordings, often with completely different approaches to this, but this nonetheless takes a special place due to its freshness and consistency of approach. Can honourably serve either as your sole version or, better still, as a contrast to the splendid but very different recordings by, say, Parrott or Gardiner.
John Sheppard


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.