Monteverdi: Il pianto della Madonna

La Compagnia del Madrigale
68:34
Glossa GCD922805

This is a fascinating and sometimes thrilling recital of spiritual contrafacta  (published in 1607 and 1609), combined with the four madrigalian motets published by Bianchi in 1620. The re-texted madrigals are mainly from Book 5 (1605). Two short organ toccatas by Frescobaldi (wrong generation?) provide contrasting punctuation.

These are brilliant performers, both as individuals and collectively but I did sometimes feel that this very virtuosity tempts them into detailed nuances of micro-managed declamation – syllables, rather than words or longer musical lines – which do not always serve the repertoire to the best effect. It’s that old musica/parole  debate again. Get it, and join in. You definitely won’t find the performances dull.

David Hansell