Three other great record­ings

BBC Music Magazine - - Building A Library -

Robert King (con­duc­tor) Robert King’s vi­sion of the Ves­pers formed dur­ing a gap-year project, shaped over the months he spent tran­scrib­ing Mon­teverdi’s pub­lished part­books. He re­fined it in 2004 for a spec­tac­u­lar BBC Proms per­for­mance and, with

The King’s Con­sort, recorded his edi­tion two years later at St-jude-on­the-hill in Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb. In­stru­men­tal colour, con­trasts of tutti and re­duced vo­cal scor­ing, plus im­pas­sioned solo singing from, among oth­ers, Carolyn Samp­son and James Gilchrist, help make this the best ‘choral’ ver­sion. (Hype­r­ion CDA67531/2) Ri­naldo Alessan­drini (con­duc­tor) Ri­naldo Alessan­drini and his Con­certo Ital­iano forces of­fer a po­tent an­ti­dote to the pol­ished sounds of for­mer Bri­tish choral schol­ars in Mon­teverdi. Their dra­matic read­ing, made in 2004 with one singer per part, em­braces much re­cent schol­ar­ship and even plays with it to high­light the dif­fer­ence in sound be­tween the Mag­ni­fi­cat for Seven Voices in down­ward trans­po­si­tion and the Mag­ni­fi­cat for Six Voices at writ­ten pitch. I love the bari­tonal heft and lav­ish or­na­men­ta­tion of Fu­rio Ze­nasi’s

‘Ni­gra sum’, em­blem­atic of a gen­uinely heart­felt and imag­i­na­tive per­for­mance. (Naïve OP 30403) An­drew Par­rott (con­duc­tor) The Tav­erner Con­sort’s record­ing, made in All Saints’ Toot­ing al­most 35 years ago, sig­nalled a rev­o­lu­tion in Ves­pers per­for­mances. It sets Mon­teverdi’s mu­sic in the con­text of a litur­gi­cal re­con­struc­tion of Se­cond Ves­pers for the Feast of the Blessed Vir­gin (15 Aug). Emma Kirkby and

Tessa Bon­ner turn ‘Pulchra es’ into the stuff of desert is­land dreams. The choir ap­pears only in five move­ments, leav­ing the ethe­real solo con­sort to deal with the other ensem­ble pieces; in­stru­men­tal dou­bling is limited to that spec­i­fied by Mon­teverdi. (Erato 561 6622)

And one to avoid…

Recorded live at the Metz Arse­nal in 2010, L’arpeg­giata’s Ves­pers is strik­ingly in­di­vid­ual and dar­ingly vir­tu­osic. In the book­let notes, con­duc­tor Christina Pluhar ad­mits that tem­pos are a mat­ter of choice, and her su­per­fast speeds here give the im­pres­sion that the mu­si­cians were aim­ing to catch the last train to Paris. L’arpeg­giata’s vo­cal ath­leti­cism skates over words and could just as eas­ily be ap­plied to a recital of the phone­book.

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