By John Whenham
Monteverdi's Vespers is an outstanding choice of sacred track, either within the inventiveness of the compositions that it comprises and within the debate that it has provoked over its use within the 17th century and over Monteverdi's intentions in publishing it. This guide presents a advisor to the track in all its facets – from an creation to the provider of Vespers itself, during the perform of chanting psalms in plainsong to research of Monteverdi's settings, starting from the rhetoric of the motet 'Nigra sum' to the sub-text of the psalm 'Laetatus sum'. It additionally examines the problems considering acting the Vespers and evaluates numerous scholarly debates at the tune, difficult the long-held principles that the sacred concertos are antiphon substitutes and that the track couldn't were played at Santa Barbara, Mantua. The ebook contains the texts and plainsongs utilized by Monteverdi, and a discography.
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Additional info for Monteverdi- Vespers (1610) (Cambridge Music Handbooks)
And if the concertos were used as spiritual chamber music - a possibility that Monteverdi mentions on the title-page - then women might have sung them in that context. For the most part, though, we must assume that the soprano lines of the Vespers were sung either by castrati or by boys or by a mixture of the two types of voice. Certainly virtuoso castrati were prized at the Mantuan court and in the papal chapel. 7 From such comments it might seem that the more able singers were reserved for chamber singing, but the reality was more complicated.
16 As we have already noted, the text of 'Duo Seraphim' is not obviously linked to Marian devotion, though its Trinitarian associations would certainly have been appropriate for the feast of St Barbara who was martyred for her belief in the Trinity. It may be that Monteverdi included it in his publication either because he was particularly proud of the setting or because pressure of time meant that he had to include pieces that he had to hand whether entirely appropriate or not. But it may be unnecessarily idealistic to assume that late Renaissance choirmasters would have included in Vespers only motets that were absolutely germane to the feast being celebrated, especially if the motets did not function as antiphon-substitutes.
The lack of copies of Monteverdi's music in the Santa Barbara library seems puzzling at first, but may well indicate that the library includes only music used in the basilica's regular round of services. Since Monteverdi was not employed at the basilica his music, if used at all, would probably have been employed only on special occasions when the musicians of Santa Barbara were joined by the instrumentalists and singers (not least the virtuoso castrato sopranos) of the court cappella. 33 All the settings of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, with the exception of 'Audi coelum' and 'Ave maris Stella', and the possible exception of the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Maria' (which would become the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Barbara'), are as appropriate for the feast of St Barbara as for feasts of the Virgin; indeed, the Trinitarian text of'Duo Seraphim' is more appropriate for St Barbara, who was martyred for her belief in the Trinity.