Monday, March 7, 2011

Monteverdi - Mass for 4 voices, Mass 'In Illo Tempore' - The Sixteen







Monteverdi seems to have compiled the 1610 collection as part of his CV for Venice and his duties as maestro di capella at St Mark’s, Venice, would presumably have included the composition of masses, but only three mass settings by him survive, of which two are included here, plus a setting of the Gloria alone. It may be, as the notes suggest, that the stricter rules laid down by the Council of Trent for settings of the mass – one note per syllable, for example – restricted the scope of polyphonicClaudio Monteverdi composition to such an extent that composers began to look elsewhere, to the motet, antiphon and vespers, for room to exercise their talents in the new stile concertato (i.e. with instruments, as opposed to the older a capella style.) Palestrina managed to combine the polyphonic mass with the new rules, though the legend attached to his Missa Papæ Marcelli – that it saved the day for polyphony when the Council of Trent considered banning it – is almost certainly not true. It is not entirely clear what Monteverdi’s purpose was in composing this work; it has even been suggested that it was an exercise in emulating the great mass settings of the previous century. Many of these settings employed the cantus firmus of a motet (or even a secular song, as in the case of the various English masses based on the Western Wind tune.) While Monteverdi does not exactly employ the cantus firmus technique, which normally assumes that the listener will recognise the underlying theme, In illo tempore is based on a little-known motet by Nicholas Gombert. Because the motet was virtually unknown, the notes suggest, the motives from it which Monteverdi employs are prominently stated at the beginning of the work.
The music, the performances and the recording come up as fresh as paint. The presentation, too, is up to Hyperion’s usual, high, scholarly standards.


flac, covers

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails