The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was arguably the most important musician of the early Italian baroque period. He absorbed the musical style of the late Renaissance and, in his early works, helped bring it to its highest expression. He however forged new compositional techniques in his madrigals and other vocal works, effectively laying the foundation for many of the stylistic conventions of the Baroque.
To the newly born genre of opera, he brought the power of a musical imagination, together with skill and insights among the most impressive of any composer in history. He created works of extraordinary stature in nearly every significant form of the day. Monteverdi had published in 1610 an incredible collection of church music: a Mass in the stile antico, a set of vespers demonstrating his mastery of the new style usage of the figured bass line, the doubling of voices and instruments in dance forms.
Virtuoso solo singing and word declamation alongside elements of the old cantus firmus with divided choirs and a cappella polyphony. The Vespro della Beata Vergine was written as a kind of audition piece: an example of what can be done setting texts in different styles, particularly the new theatrical style (the foundation of opera) of which Monteverdi was a great pioneer.
We welcome back Kathy Saltzman Romey as our guest conductor for our closing concert of this festive anniversary season.
~ Garrick Comeaux, Artistic Director