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La Cetra Baroque Orch. Basel - La Cetra Vocal Ens.

Christmas Vespers

Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: October 28, 2022

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1 Vespro della Beata Vergine, SV 206: Deus in adiutorium - Domine ad adiuvandum02:29  
2 Gabrieli: Intonatione del primo tono00:30  
3 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Psalm 109: Dixit Dominus II, SV 26408:48  
4 Grandi: Motetti a due voci: O felix, o lucidissima nox03:47  
5 Gabrieli: Intonatione dell'undicesimo tono00:39  
6 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Psalm 110: Confitebor tibi, Domine III  
7 Usper: Compositioni armoniche, Op. 3: Sonata a 8 con quattro soprani04:04  
8 Gabrieli: Intonatione del quinto tono00:45  
9 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Psalm 111: Beatus vir I, SV 26808:44  
10 Grandi: Motetti a due voci: O intemerata04:18  
11 Gabrieli: Intonatione del secondo tono00:38  
12 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Psalm 112: Laudate pueri II, SV 27108:07  
13 Monteverdi: Venite, sitientes, ad aquas Domini, SV 33505:19  
14 Gabrieli: Intonatione del ottavo tono00:42  
15 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Psalm 116: Laudate Dominum I, SV 27004:30  
16 Gabrieli: Canzoni et sonate (1615): Sonata XVIII a 1406:48  
17 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale, SV 280: Hymnus: Christe redemptor omnium04:04  
18 Valentini: Hodie Christus natus est06:22  
19 Gabrieli: Intonatione del nono tono00:46  
20 Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale: Magnificat I, SV 28113:45  
21 Gabrieli: Intonatione del decimo tono00:42  
22 Monteverdi: Cantate Domino a 6, SV 29302:31  
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On 29 December 1616 Claudio Monteverdi wrote to the poet Alessandro Striggio — who was also the secretary to the Duke of Mantua — to apologize for his late reply, which he attributed to “the hard work that had to be done on the Mass for Christmas Eve, for what with composing it and copying it out I had to give up the entire month of December, almost without a break”. By 1616 Monteverdi had been the maestro di cappella at St Mark’s for three years. Here the Christmas festivities placed a particularly heavy burden on his shoulders. Not only did he have to compose a new polyphonic Mass, he also had to write numerous other works for the Solemn Vespers on Christmas Eve at St. Mark’s as well as for Christmas Day itself at San Giorgio Maggiore, and for additional services associated with the Christmas liturgy. The musicians of the Doge’s cappella would then be joined by famous soloists who were in the city for the opening of the new opera season, while other singers and instrumentalists were similarly enlisted for these magnificent celebrations.

The Vespro veneziano that Andrea Marcon has assembled for this new recording is inspired by the resplendent sounds of the music that was performed at the great Christmas Vespers in St. Mark’s in the presence of the foremost dignitaries of La Serenissima and a large audience of aristocrats and visitors from across Europe. This reconstruction features works from various printed anthologies of works by Monteverdi and his contemporaries and presents the sort of Vespers that might have been heard in Venice over the Christmas period during the long incumbency of “il divino Claudio” as maestro di cappella at St Mark’s — he held the post from August 1613 until his death on 29 November 1643.

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