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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI  

(1567 - 1643)

Born in Cremona in 1567, Claudio Monteverdi served at the court of the Dukes of Mantua from the early 1590s until 1612, when he moved to Venice as maestro di cappella at the basilica of St Mark, a position he retained until his death in 1643. His importance as a proponent of the so-called seconda prattica, the new concerted music characteristic of the early Baroque, is unquestioned, as is his pre-eminence in the development of the new form of opera that sprang from the combination of music and rhetoric in the art of Italian monody.

Stage Works

Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is the earliest opera to retain a place in modern repertoire. It is a dramatic version of the story concerning the legendary Orpheus—the musician who sought to bring his beloved Eurydice back from the Underworld by the power of music. This was written for the court of the Duke of Mantua in 1607, with a libretto by Alessandro Striggio. A second opera of the period, L’Arianna, deals with the fate of the Cretan princess Ariadne, deserted on the island of Naxos by the Athenian prince, Theseus, whom she had rescued; this work is lost, although the famous ‘Lament of Arianna’ survives both as a solo song and in the form of a madrigal. The words are by the Florentine nobleman Ottavio Rinuccini, who provided the text for the ballet Il Ballo dell’ingrate. Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (‘The Combat of Tancredi and Clorinda’), a setting of an episode in Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, allows Monteverdi to exhibit his newly developed stile concitato (agitated style) in an interpretation of ancient Greek philosophical principles expressed by Plato. To stile concitato is added stile molle (soft style) for humility and stile temperato (moderate style) to represent that human emotional state. Monteverdi’s last two surviving operas are Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (‘The Return of Ulysses to his Native Country’), staged in Venice in 1640, and the final L’incoronazione di Poppea (‘The Coronation of Poppaea’) of 1642, set in imperial Rome in the time of Nero, whose love for the courtesan Poppaea is the subject of the opera.

Secular Vocal Music

Monteverdi published several collections of songs and madrigals. Of these the ‘Lament of Arianna’ has been mentioned, while Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda was also published in a set of Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (‘Madrigals of War and of Love’) designed for singing without dramatic action. This particularly rich repertoire of vocal music includes the duet, also in the form of a five-part madrigal, Zefiro torna (‘Zephyr, turn’), from Petrarch, and Ecco mormorar l’onde (‘Lo the murmur of the waves’), a setting of Tasso. These and other songs and madrigals by Monteverdi were brought to modern attention by the French composer, teacher and musicologist Nadia Boulanger in memorable realisations and recordings in the 1940s.

Church Music

Possibly as an advertisement of his varied abilities as a composer, Monteverdi wrote in 1610 a setting of the service of Vespers for the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was in the modern style that would appeal to the officials of St Mark’s in Venice. At the same time, perhaps with a view to possible employment in the more conservative papal service in Rome, he wrote a six-voice Mass setting in the old style. The Vespers offers a dramatic and colourful exploitation of the possibilities of the new style. It is a work of great variety and interest, and well suited to the spacial effects available to performers in the great basilica of St Mark, with its galleries and traditions of writing for contrasted groups of performers spacially separated.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
Lamenti Barocchi Naxos 8.503241
Meditation Naxos 8.508010

View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
A TO Z OF CLASSICAL MUSIC (The) (3rd Expanded Edition, 2009) Naxos Educational
8.558212-13
Choral - Secular
A TO Z OF OPERA Naxos Educational
8.555037-38
Opera
A TO Z OF OPERA (The) (2nd expanded edition) Naxos Educational
8.558216-17
Opera
Art and Music: Caravaggio - Music of His Time Naxos
8.558060
Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular
Art and Music: Rubens - Music of His Time Naxos
8.558067
Vocal Ensemble, Opera
AVE MARIA - Les plus beaux Ave Maria et chants a la Vierge (The Most Beautiful Ave Marias and Songs to the Virgin) Naxos
8.570886-87
Choral - Sacred
BALSAMINO: Novellette a 6 voci / MONTEVERDI: Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda Dynamic
CDS384
Opera
Brass Ensemble Arrangements - TORRE, F. de la / SUSATO, T. / GESUALDO, C. / DOWLAND, J. / MONTEVERDI, C. (Then) (Stockholm Chamber Brass) BIS
BIS-2017
Chamber Music
CAVAZZONI, G.: Ricercares Nos. 1-4 / Magnificat Primi Toni / Magnificat Ottavi Toni (Nova Schola Gregoriana, Vartolo, Turco) Tactus
TC510301
Choral - Sacred
Cello Duet Arrangements (A Tale of Two Cellos) (Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, Lenehan) Naxos
8.573251
Chamber Music
Chamber Music - MONTEVERDI, C. / GODARD, M. / SWALLOW, S. (Monteverdi: A Trace of Grace) (Godard) Carpe Diem
CD-16286
Vocal, Opera, Vocal
Chamber Music (Renaissance) - PHILIDOR, P.D. / BUSNOYS, A. / LUZZASCHI, L. / MONTEVERDI, C. (A Renaissance Tour of Europe) (New York Kammermusiker) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90133
Chamber Music
Choral Music (Ave Maria Choruses) - BACH, J.S. / GOUNOD, C.-F. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / SCHUBERT, F. / BRUCKNER, A. / PERGOLESI, G.B. Capriccio
C10769
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music (Baroque 16th Century) - GABRIELI, G. / SCHUTZ, H. / PRAETORIUS, M. / MONTEVERDI, C. Capriccio
C10409
Orchestral
Choral Music (Sacred) - BACH, J.S. / SCHUBERT, F. / ZELENKA, J.D. / SCHEIN, J.H. / HANDEL, G.F. / SCHUTZ, H. / BRUCKNER, A. / SCHUBERT, F. Capriccio
C49337
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music (Sacred) - SCHUBERT, F. / BRAHMS, J. / MENDELSSOHN, Felix / VERDI, G. / MONTEVERDI, C. / BRUCKNER, A. / MOZART, W.A. / GRIEG, E. Capriccio
C49341
Choral - Sacred
CHRISTMAS Laudate Pueri - Baroque Christmas Oehms Classics
OC350
Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal Ensemble
Discover Music of the Baroque Era Naxos Educational
8.558160-61
Choral - Sacred
DISCOVER OPERA Naxos Educational
8.558196-97
Opera
EARLY MUSIC FOR MEDITATION Naxos
8.557652
Opera, Vocal
ESSENTIAL OPERA COLLECTION (19 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OAMO6000D
Opera DVD
FLOWERING OF LOVE, (THE) - Beautiful Arias and Sacred Songs of the Baroque Naxos
8.570156-57
Chamber Music
GHIRLANDA SACRA - Il Mottetto a voce sola a Venezia Tactus
TC620001
Vocal
GHIRLANDA SACRA (Ensemble Primi Toni, Lamon) Tactus
TC620080
Vocal
GIGLI, Beniamino: Gigli Edition, Vol. 13: London Recordings (1947-1949) Naxos Historical
8.111102
Opera
GLYNDEBOURNE DIAMONDS (1972-1979) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101109
Opera DVD
Imperial Fanfares Naxos
8.555879
Orchestral
Lamenti Barocchi, Vol. 1 Naxos
8.553318
Choral - Sacred
Lamenti Barocchi, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.553319
Vocal Ensemble
Lamenti Barocchi, Vol. 3 Naxos
8.553320
Vocal
Lute and Vocal Music - MONTEVERDI, C. / FRESCOBALDI, G. / NEGRI, C. / BORRONO, P.P. / CACCINI, G. (The Italian Lute Song) (Baird, McFarlane) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90236
Vocal
MASTERPIECES FOR CHOIR BIS
BIS-CD-148
Choral - Secular
Medieval Music - BUSNOYS, A. / GESUALDO, C. / MONTEVERDI, C. / GIBBONS, O. / BULL, J. / PRAETORIUS, M. (Angels of Antiquity) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90009
Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI (THE BEST OF) Naxos
8.556841
Vocal, Opera, Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Ballo delle Ingrate / Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Symphonia Perusina, Volta) Tactus
TC561308
Opera
MONTEVERDI, C.: Domine Deus meus / O gloriose martyr / GABRIELI, A.: Bonum est, et suave (I Cantori di San Marco, Gemmani) Tactus
TC530002
Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Liceu, 2009) (Blu-ray, HD) Opus Arte
OABD7105D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Liceu, 2009) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA1073D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Norwegian National Opera, 2010) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) EuroArts
2058924
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Norwegian National Opera, 2010) (NTSC) EuroArts
2058928
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Schwetzingen Festival, 1993) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
100109
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (Schwetzingen Festival, 1993) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102304
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: L'incoronazione di Poppea (DNO, 1994) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA0925D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals (Ensemble Concerto, Gini) Tactus
TC561301
Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals (Madrigali in genere rappresentativo) (Ensemble Concerto, Gini) Tactus
TC561302
Vocal, Opera, Vocal, Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals (Madrigali sui testo del Tasso dal I, II, III e IV Libro dei Madrigali) (Concerto Italiano, Alessandrini) Tactus
TC561303
Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 1 (Il Primo Libro de Madrigali, 1587) and Secular Manuscript Works (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555307
Vocal, Choral - Secular, Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 2 (Il Secondo Libro de' Madrigali, 1590) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555308
Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 3 (Il Terzo Libro de' Madrigali, 1592) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555309
Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 4 (Il Quarto Libro de' Madrigali, 1603) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555310
Choral - Secular, Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 5 (Il Quinto Libro de' Madrigali, 1605) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555311
Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 6 (Il Sesto Libro de Madrigali, 1614) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini) Naxos
8.555312-13
Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Secular, Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Secular, Vocal
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 7 (Cappella Mauriziana, Ensemble Concerto, Gini, Valsecchi) Tactus
TC561390
Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 7, "Concerto" (Il Settimo Libro de Madrigali, 1619) Naxos
8.555314-16
Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal, Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 8 (excerpts) (Il Ruggiero, Marcante) Tactus
TC561305
Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals, Book 8 (Il Ottavo Libro de' Madrigali, 1638) (Il Ruggiero, Marcante) Tactus
TC561306
Choral - Secular, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Opera, Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI, C.: Orfeo (L') (DNO, 1997) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA0929D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Orfeo (L') (DNO, 1997) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OAMO6007D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Orfeo (L') (La Scala, 2009) (Blu-ray, HD) Opus Arte
OABD7080D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Orfeo (L') (La Scala, 2009) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA1044D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Il) (DNO, 1998) (NTSC) Opus Arte
oa0927d
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (Il) (Glyndebourne, 1973) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101101
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Il) (Glyndebourne, 1973) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102308
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Il) (Zurich Opera, 2002) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101660
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI, C.: Varie Musiche Sacre (Ensemble Concerto) Tactus
TC561304
Vocal
MONTEVERDI, C.: Vespro della Beata Vergine (Gini) Dynamic
CDS656
Choral - Sacred
MONTEVERDI, C.: Vocal Music (Sluis, Kohler, Lautten Compagney) Capriccio
C10470
Opera, Vocal, Orchestral, Vocal, Orchestral, Vocal
MONTEVERDI: Ballo Delle Ingrate / Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda Naxos
8.553322
Opera
MONTEVERDI: Canzonette Naxos
8.553316
Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI: Combattimento di Tancredi et Clorinda (Il) / Madrigals / MILLIONI: Ballo del Monteverdi (arr. for chamber ensemble) Dynamic
CDS478
Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Music, Vocal Ensemble
MONTEVERDI: Full Monteverdi (The) - Madrigals, Book 4 (NTSC) Naxos
2.110224
Classical Concert
MONTEVERDI: Incoronazione di Poppea (L') (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100108
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI: L'Orfeo (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA0843D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI: L'Orfeo (PAL) Opus Arte
OA0842D
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI: Missa In illo tempore / Vespro della Beata Vergine / Magnificat (II) a 6 voci BIS
BIS-CD-1071-72
Choral - Sacred
MONTEVERDI: Opera Box Set (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA0972BD
Opera DVD
MONTEVERDI: Orfeo (L') Naxos
8.554094-95
Opera
MONTEVERDI: Orfeo (L') Dynamic
CDS477
Opera
MONTEVERDI: Orfeo (L') (Krebs, Mack-Cosack) (1955) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80019-20
Opera
MONTEVERDI: Sacred Music (Ensemble Concerto) Dynamic
CDS491
Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal, Choral - Sacred, Vocal Ensemble, Instrumental, Choral - Sacred, Vocal, Instrumental, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal, Instrumental, Vocal, Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Sacred, Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Music, Vocal
MONTEVERDI: Scherzi Musicali a Tre Voci Naxos
8.553317
Choral - Secular, Vocal Ensemble, Choral - Secular
MONTEVERDI: Vesperae de Confessore Dynamic
CDS543
Choral - Sacred
MONTEVERDI: Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Naxos
8.550662-63
Choral - Sacred
Opera Explained: MONTEVERDI - Orfeo (Smillie) Naxos Educational
8.558174
Music Education
SAINTS AND SINNERS - The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe [10 CD Boxed Set] Naxos
8.501067
Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular, Opera
Saxophone and Lute Music (FLOW - Jazz and Renaissance from Italy to Brazil) (Siegmeth, Wolf) Oehms Classics
OC1826
Chamber Music
SOROR MEA, SPONSA MEA - Il Cantico dei Cantici nei conventi italiani tra Cinquecento e Seicento Tactus
TC560002
Vocal Ensemble
THE ITALIAN DRAMATIC LAMENT Naxos
8.557538
Vocal
UNGER-HAMILTON, C.: Discover Music of the Baroque Era (Unabridged) Naxos AudioBooks
NA495912
Choral - Sacred
Vocal and Chamber Music (Venice, 16th Century) - CAVALLI, F. / CORNETTO, P. / FONTANA, G.B. / GRANDI, A. / LEGRENZI, G. (Cantate Domino) Tactus
TC590001
Vocal
Vocal Music (Renaissance) - GESUALDO, C. / MONTEVERDI, C. / WERT, G. de / MARENZIO, L. (The Mannerist Revolution) (Pomerium, Blachy) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90154
Vocal Ensemble
Vocal Recital: Baird, Julianne - CACCINI, G. / SANCES, G.F. (Songs of Love and War - Italian Dramatic Songs of the 17th and 18th Centuries) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90104
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Lemos, Jose - MERULA, T. / DA GAGLIANO, M. / STORACE, B. / MONTEVERDI, C. (Io vidi in Terra) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92172
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Yamada, Chiyomi - NARVAEZ, L. de / FUENLLANA, M. de / CACCINI, G. / DOWLAND, J. / ICHIJURO, K. / HUYGENS, C. (Kurofune) Carpe Diem
CD-16283
Vocal
WIE SCHON LEUCHTET DER MORGENSTERN (Clemencic Consort, Clemencic) Oehms Classics
OC829
Vocal
World of Early Music Naxos
8.554770-71
Vocal, Opera
Role: Lyricist 
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