My favorite Monteverdi

How can the most erotic major composer also be the most underrated major composer?  (Could it be that people are ninnies?)  Constructing a basic Monteverdi library is simple, you should start with the following:

1. Vespers, his masterpiece.  Opt for Andrew Parrott (first choice) or Pearlman (budget label, excellent recording).

2. The Books of Madrigals.  The clear first choice is to get the discs by Rinaldo Alessandrini, start with Book Eight, noting the set is incomplete.  Second choice would be the collection by Brit Anthony Rooley, beautiful but lacking comparable flourish and diction.

3. L’Orfeo, the opera.  Try the Rene Jacobs or John Eliot Gardiner recordings.  The Coronation of Poppea has its virtues but it takes much longer to love.

4. Most enjoyable single disc: Monteverdi: Duets and Solos; fewer CDs capture the ecstasy of music and love better than this one.

5. Best way to expand the Monteverdi collection at the margin: Buy more books of madrigals.

Yes Monteverdi is from Mantua but he counts as Venice also.  He is a composer I never grow tired of.


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