Dunedin Consort review – Monteverdi up close and personal
The secular side of the composer’s output was the focus of this imaginative and vivid festival programme
Monteverdi’s workstraddled the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. It is full of tortured chromaticism that paints the emotion expressed in texts full of sighs and moans. It’s no wonder musicians familiar with the modernism of the 20th century took his music to their hearts during its rediscovery.
In this festival programme, performed with typical attention to detail and rock solid tuning (no mean feat in some of these works), the Dunedin Consort juxtaposed works for unaccompanied voices from the earlier books of madrigals with more declamatory pieces from the composer’s landmark final volume, Madrigals of War and Love.
In truth, the austere, stony grandeur of St Mary’s is probably better suited to the sacred side of Monteverdi’s output – you imagine the madrigals were performed in a fancycamerain a ducal palazzo in some Italian city state, and the vaulted surroundings lend a somewhat ecclesiastical feel to these unashamedly secular works. Yet what the venue lacks in appropriate ambience it makes up for in the clarity of its acoustic, and here the strategic placement of monitors meant the audience near the back of the nave had the opportunity to see the performers up close. headtopics.comRead more: The Guardian »
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