Monteverdi: Scherzi Musicali (Venezia 1607)

Floral design

L’Esa Ensemble, Baschenis Ensemble, Sergio Chierici
Tactus TC 561309
World premiere recording

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ny first recording of music by such a major figure as Claudio Monteverdi should be celebrated; the fact that his Scherzi Musicali  (published by his brother, who also contributes two pieces, in 1607) have not previously made it on to disk is that 17 strophic arias sung in three parts but up to six sopranos and a single voice, separated by ritornelli in which the violinists and recorder player compete to add as many ornaments as they can, accompanied by keyboards, pluckers and a symphonia with drone, might be a challenging experience – and so it turned out. Enthusiastic as the singers are, and sweet as their voices might be, they should not have been persuaded to consent to allowing themselves to be recorded; I gain nothing by being hyper-critical, so will leave the review there. To be fair, though, I don’t think I ever want to hear another recording of the set – perhaps one or two pieces in the context of a more varied concert.

Brian Clark

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