Dunedin Consort - Monteverdi: Vespers 1610 - All Music
Following a critically acclaimed performance at the Lammermuir Festival in September, 2016, John Butt and the Dunedin Consort recorded Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro dell Beata Vergine at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh in March, 2017. Of the many new releases and reissues of this Baroque masterpiece that marked celebrations of Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary, this luminous rendition of the 1610 Vespers is one of the most exciting and satisfying for its virtuosity and brilliance. Presented with ten vocalists -- sopranos Joanne Lunn and Esther Brazil, altos Amy Lyddon and Rory McCleery, tenors Joshua Ellicott, Matthew Long, Nicholas Mulroy, and Peter Harris, and basses Peter Harvey and William Gaunt -- the choral textures are a bit thinner and more exposed than one might expect or want, but considering the complexity of Monteverdi’s counterpoint, the leaner choir proves agile, if not as impressive as the large choirs in some mainstream performances. The period instruments of His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts give a rousing and colorful accompaniment, and the higher tuning (A = 466Hz) gives the group a brighter tone than one typically encounters, even in historically informed performances. The recording captures the performers with close-up presence, though there is sufficient resonance in the church setting to give the ensemble a radiant glow.