Monteverdi: Gloria a otto voci, SV 307…

Edited by Barbara Neumeier. iv + 24pp, €24.50.
Carus 27.081.

I had long been aware that the Gloria a8 wasn’t of obvious Monteverdian origin. The English text uses the term autograph, which in our language usually implies that it was written by the composer, whereas otherwise a term like copyist is used. However, the German term is handschriftlich, which is wider in meaning. What worries me more, however, is that it doesn’t have much relationship with Monteverdi’s music, and the Gloria a8 doesn’t come anywhere near the 1610, 1641 and 1650 Masses. The scoring is for two choirs, each C1 C3 C4 and F4, with three continuo bass parts identical apart from copying slips. It might sound better with a different composer’s name! I’ve edited vast amounts of Monteverdi’s church music, and if anyone had asked me to publish it, I’d have done so as an unknown composer from Naples. There are already two editions, though in larger volumes, and one version I’ve had in my computer for some time.

There are sections with fewer parts, the voices of each choir being of the same range, except for a trio of ATB in choir II for “Domine Deus”: this shoud be described as ATB II. The listing of the rest of the index (p. ii) would be clearer as SATB, SATB than SSAATTBB. The continuo part is very simple, and could have been a useful elementary exercise for those wishing to play from the bass, with simple figuring added.

It is significant that the Kritischer Bericht has no reference to Monteverdi, whereas the editor mentions Monteverdi in general terms in the first paragraph and specifically in the first sentence of the second, and the publisher went too far on the title: the title should surely have been something like ?Monteverdi?. Apologies to Carus, a publisher for whom I have enormous respect.

Clifford Bartlett