Monteverdi Vespers, published in 1610 is one of the oldest ‘large scale’ religious works ever written. Its origins are a little uncertain, and whether these pieces were ever performed as they are generally done nowadays is not known. However, Monteverdi’s dramatic and expressive music has survived the centuries with remarkable success. It is believed that Monteverdi wrote this work to get a new post in Venice, thus perhaps the music was conceived for the majestic Basiilica of St Marco in Venice, one of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe.
Monteverdi put all his energy into creating a magnificent set of pieces (‘his CV as a composer in effect), which we nowadays believe to be a liturgical set of music for Vesper. Monteverdi sets the music in a fusion of ‘old’ and ‘new’ idioms. ‘Old’ was the Renaissance counterpoint of Palestrina and ‘new’ was the baroque recitative and melodic operatic style of writing.
The music is dazzling in virtuosity, colour and is full of energy and drama throughout. We will be accompanied by historic instruments played by Rejouissance, led by Simon Jones – this will be a memorable evening!