CHORAL 3 – Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was a significant figure in the musical transition from the a cappella Renaissance, ‘ecclesiastical’ choral style to the accompanied ‘operatic’ Baroque sounds of Bach and Handel. As far as some of his contemporaries were concerned, he was a dangerous modernist, abandoning the traditional musical values of the Prima Practtica in favour of the new-fangled, dramatic and overtly emotional world of the Seconda Practtica.

A glorious fanfare – the opening of Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo

… and the fanfare recycled; to even more glorious effect:

The alto part book of the Vesper’s final section, a Magnificat. The alto part’s on the left and the continuo and instrumentation on the right:


Magnificat anima mea Dominum;
Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo,
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae
suae; ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est, et sanctum nomen ejus,
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in bracchio
Dispersit superbos
mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et
Esurientes implevit bonis, et divites dimisit
Suscepit Israel, puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae,
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini ejus in saecula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et
Spiritui Sancto,
sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in Saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden: For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm:
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel:
As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

The vocal score,

(but be aware that there are copyright restrictions):

… and, if you have the time (and it’s well worth making it), the entire Vespers in a truly astonishing concert venue!

Deus in adiutorium 2:10
Dixit Dominus 4:38
Nigra sum 13:15
Laudate pueri 17:59
Pulchra es amica mea 24:17
Laetatus sum 28:32
Duo seraphim clamabant 36:25
Nisi Dominum 43:54
Audi caelo verba mea 48:56
Lauda Jerusalem Dominum 58:10
Sancta Maria ora pro nobis 1:03:35

Ave maris stella 1:11:03
Sumens illud ave 1:12:34
Solve vincla reis 1:13:53
Monstra te esse materm 1:15:10
Virgo singularis 1:16:35
Vita praesta puram 1:17:57
Sit laus Deo Patri 1:18:48

Magnificat 1:21:22
Anima mea 1:21:49
Et exultavit 1:22:15
Quia respexit 1:22:34
Quia fecit mihi magna 1:25:26
Et misericordia eius 1:26:32
Fecit potentiam 1:28:56
Deposuit potentes de sede 1:29:57
Esurientes implevit bonis 1:32:34
Suscepit Israel puerum suum 1:33:53
Sicut locutus est 1:35:21
Gloria Patri et Filio 1:36:19
Sicut erat in principio 1:39:07

Secular Monteverdi – not Josquin’s Grillo or Lassus in praise of wine – but, reflecting the new emotional world of the Seconda Practtica, the sad song of a lovelorn young woman – the Lamento della ninfa [The Lament of the Nymph]:

… with subtitles.

The score:

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