’30 years ago this year I was introduced to Monteverdi’s Vespers in a filming from St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. I was already very interested in baroque music, but it is a work that turned my musical world upside-down – from its incredible drama, to astonishing use of harmony and virtuosic melody to dramatic use of the buildings, with the soloists literally hiding everywhere! I thought ‘well, if they could have this much fun 400 years ago, why should we not now! – so we did – and from that, much of the characteristic of Armonico Consort was born, hence the inclusion in our 20th anniversary celebrations.’
Christopher Monks, January 2021
A towering masterpiece of the early Baroque and one of the greatest pillars of music history, the Vespers of 1610 offer a stunning array of brilliant instrumental writing, opulent choruses and moving (sometimes deeply sensual) arias. Over 400 years ago this astounding work marked the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. The publication in 1610 almost certainly helped Monteverdi gain the prestigious post of maestro di cappella at St Mark’s in Venice, which he kept until his death in 1643.
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