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  Hyperion -
  Monteverdi: The Sacred Music 3 - The King's Consort/Robert King
  Monteverdi: Dixit Dominus II, Sancta Maria, Lauda - Jerusalem - Dominum I, Memento Domine David, Confitebor tibi III, Christe adoramus te, Salve Regina II, Nisi Dominus I, Cantate Domino, Ecce sacrum paratum, Gloria in excelsis Deo

Choir of the King's Consort
The King's Consort
Robert King (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Vocal
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1

Review by ramesh April 29, 2005 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Listening to the sumptuous expressiveness of the sacred works admirably performed here, both to the spirit and the letter of the music, one becomes convinced Monteverdi occupies a watershed position much like Mahler in Western art music. Just as Mahler pushed the boundaries of the late romantic symphony, one encounters in these Monteverdian works sensuality beyond the generally accepted pale for the ascetic and unworldly in religious expression. That he became concurrently the first operatic composer seems almost inevitable.
Having volume 1 of this series on SACD, I was nonetheless uncommitted to buying every disc in this series, until I saw that it contained the 'Confitebor tibi, Domine--terzo alla francesca' ( entitled on this disc as Confitebor tibi III alla francese ), made famous by Emma Kirkby on a best selling Hyperion CD of the early digital era (CDA66021, CDA20021). Kirkby breezes through this in her ethereally light voice in 5:53 ; the soprano Carolyn Sampson here in 6:15. I was mystified by the Gramophone reviewer in December 2004, describing Sampson's 'bright but womanly tones'. Er, does he know the difference between a non-sequitur and a tautology? Does this mean much of the British early music movement is otherwise dominated by in-the-closet transvestites, or Pope Benedict XVI forbidding, East European field athletes or Chinese swimmers circa before 1990? Sampson is chalk to Kirkby's cheese. There is plenty of vibrato in a voice which is not particularly refulgent of tone, but what Sampson has, she deploys in a passionate, committed yet dextrous manner, whatever the possible transgressions of authentic dogma. She sings this piece, which would surely delight a legion of people not normally fans of early music, as one would if it were in a baroque opera. She is upstaged in the 'Nisi Dominus' by the tenor James Gilchrist and the bass Peter Harvey, who will surely have major careers ahead of them. They have a resplendence of tone which perhaps was not fully welcomed during the period movement's more astringent and puritan days of the early 80's. These two works, as well as the Sancta Maria soprano duet, the Dixit Dominus and the concluding Gloria are surely on the shortlist of great Monteverdi.
The liner notes are full, but not impeccably clear; I had to refer to the earlier Hyperion disc with Kirkby to discover the 'Confitebor Tibi' was a reworking of two secular works from his eighth book of madrigals. Clearly JS Bach was not the only crossover artist in the religious to secular sense. The recording, when compared to the earlier Hyperion disc, is a demonstration of the strides in digital recording over the past quarter century. The earlier CD, by comparison threadbare with almost acidulous higher frequencies, was extravagantly praised for its recording back then. Even playing the RBCD track of the newer Hyperion shows up the difference. On stereo SACD, the sound is resplendent, helped by the fuller and more well-rounded tone the King's Consort elicit over their earlier counterparts. No information is supplied on the recording, but based on the lack of artefacts, it is probably native DSD or very high rate PCM.
Play the Confitebor Tibi to anyone who comes near your hifi, and make their day!

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Works: 11  

Claudio Monteverdi - Cantate Domino
Claudio Monteverdi - Christe adoramus te
Claudio Monteverdi - Confitebor tibi III
Claudio Monteverdi - Dixit Dominus II
Claudio Monteverdi - Ecce sacrum paratum
Claudio Monteverdi - Gloria in excelsis Deo
Claudio Monteverdi - Lauda - Jerusalem - Dominum I
Claudio Monteverdi - Memento Domine David
Claudio Monteverdi - Nisi Dominus I
Claudio Monteverdi - Salve Regina II
Claudio Monteverdi - Sancta Maria