On November 18, Naïve Classiques will release MONTEVERDI: Concerto. Settimo libro de’ madrigali, the latest from Rinaldo Alessandrini and his Concerto Italiano. Five years separate the publication of the Sixth Book of Madrigals (1614) from the Seventh (1619): Concerto. Settimo Libro de Madrigali a 18.104.22.168 & Sei voci, con altri generi de Canti, published in Venice by Bartolomeo Magni. “The stylistic rupture between the Sixth and Seventh Books is evident,” notes Alessandrini. “We move from an anthology generally conceived, as in the previous books, for a group of five singers (though already accompanied by continuo in the second part of the Sixth Book) to an almost total renunciation of the premise of an exclusively vocal, polyphonic composition, often still entailing a contrapuntal dimension.”
Inspired by “the hitherto unpublished stamp of a literary intention” indicated by Monteverdi at the start of the collection, Rinaldo Alessandrini arranges the madrigals by poet in this two-disc set. “In Book VII,” Alessandrini explains, “a new musical concept comes to light. The relationship with the text is different, radically so. We are not only attempting a new and ideal imitation of the text, but we also endeavor to install the music in a more obviously narrative dimension through our performance.
“In this recording we decided not to follow the published order of the book, but to retrace certain poetic strands, while also establishing a certain symmetry between the two CDs,” continues Alessandrini. “This is why the texts by Marino and Guarini are presented in a single block, followed by the other compositions arranged to ensure varied alternation of instruments and musical situations. Where they exist, we have retained the introductory headings of each poetic text, quoting them from the first printed editions; they are essential for understanding the expressive and cultural context of early seventeenth-century Italian poetry.”
Along with the collection of madrigals are the “other types of song” (altri generi de Canti) that the composer chose to include in the book. To this section belong the most atypical pieces: “Con che soavità”, a lengthy composition accompanied by highly complex and unusual instrumentation; the “Romanesca” for two sopranos; and two “letters” for solo voice and two canzonettas with instruments.
Sinfonia – “Tempro la cetra” – Sinfonia – [Balletto] – Sinfonia
“Il luogo de’ suoi amori”
“A quest’olmo, a quest’ombre ed a quest’onde”
Texts by G. B. Marino: I “baci”
“Perché fuggi tra salci” | “Vorrei baciarti, o filli” | “Tornate, o cari baci” | “Eccomi pronta ai baci”
Texts by C. Achillini
“Se i languidi miei sguardi” | “Ecco vicine, o bella tigre, l’hore”
Text by T. Tasso
“Al lume delle stelle”
“Non è di gentil core” | “Non vedrò mai
le stelle” | “Oh viva fiamma” | “Augellin, che la voce al canto spieghi” | “Amor, che deggio far”
Entrata grave (B. Marini)
Texts by G. B. Guarini
“Con che soavità” | “Dice la mia bellissima licori” | “Parlo, miser, o taccio?” | “Se’l vostro cor, madonna” | “Interrotte speranze, eterna fede”
Text by B. Tasso
“Ohimé, dov’è il mio ben?”
Texts by G. Chiabrera
“Soave libertate” l “Vaga su spina ascosa”
“Io son pur vezzosetta pastorella” | “Ah, che non si conviene” | “Tu dormi? Ah, crudo core” | “Se pur destina e vòle” | “Chiome d’oro, bel tesoro”
Monica Piccinini, Sonia Tedla SOPRANO | Elenza Carzaniga,
Andres Montilla CONTRALTO/ALTO | Valerio Contaldo,
Raffaele Giordani TENOR | Salvo Vitale BASS
Concerto Italiano | Rinaldo Alessandrini HARPSICHORD, CONDUCTOR
About Rinaldo Alessandrini, Harpsichord and Conductor
The harpsichordist, organist and pianist Rinaldo Alessandrini is one of the leading figures on the international early music scene. His predilection for the Italian repertory and his constant preoccupation with the expressive characteristics specific to the Italian style of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are the decisive factors that orientate his musical approach and interpretative options, both at the head of Concerto Italiano, of which he is the founder and director, and as a soloist and guest conductor.
Among the most notable productions he has conducted are Handel’s Theodora, Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Vergine dei dolori, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and many works by Vivaldi, including La Senna festeggiante, The Four Seasons, the operas L’Olimpiade and Armida, and the monumental reconstruction of his Solemn Vespers for the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. Also worthy of mention is his marked penchant for the operas of Monteverdi, Mozart and Handel, which he conducts frequently and with great passion.
A regular guest conductor with leading orchestras in Europe and the United States, but also in Melbourne and São Paulo, he also appears frequently at La Scala in Milan, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Opéra de Liège and Welsh National Opera. In the course of the Monteverdi jubilee year of 2017, he led Concerto Italiano on tour in Australia, China and Japan, and in concerts in Europe and the US. Rinaldo Alessandrini was resident conductor with the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin in the 2015/16 season. In 2016 he was appointed music director of the ‘Purtimiro’ Baroque opera festival at the Teatro Rossini in Lugo di Romagna.
His discography, which has earned frequent awards over the past thirty years, largely coincides with that of Concerto Italiano, and features numerous Italian composers but also members of the German school. He records exclusively for naïve. In 2002, along with Concerto Italiano, he received the Premio Abbiati for his entire career up to that point. He was appointed Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2003, and is a member of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana.
About Concerto Italiano
The path taken by Concerto Italiano on its formation by Rinaldo Alessandrini in 1984 intersected with that of the rebirth of early music in Italy. Since that time, exploring notably the works of Monteverdi, Bach and Vivaldi – three tutelary figures whom it champions all over the world – it has renewed the approach to and interpretation of these early repertories, shedding new light on their aesthetic and rhetorical features. Having initiated many large-scale musical projects and assiduously assembled a large discography over the past three decades, Concerto Italiano has become a frequent visitor to internationally famous concert halls, opera houses and festivals and has produced benchmark versions of its favoured repertory that have enjoyed both public and critical acclaim. After its long-term immersion in the Monteverdi trilogy staged in collaboration with Robert Wilson at La Scala in Milan and the Opéra fde Paris, Concerto Italiano embarked on a number of major concert tours in 2016: Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine in Australia and New Zealand, Alessandro Scarlatti’s Caino in Europe and a programme of late seventeenth-century Roman polyphony with the RIAS Kammerchor. In 2017 it celebrated the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi with L’Orfeo on tour in China, the Vespers in Japan, L’incoronazione di Poppea at Carnegie Hall and numerous concerts in Europe.
Concerto Italiano was awarded the Premio Abbiati 2002 for its activities, and has also won five Gramophone Awards (in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2015), two Grands Prix du Disque, three Deutsche Schallplattenpreise (including L’Orfeo in 2008), the Premio Cini and five Midem Awards. The British musical press has declared that its recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are the finest currently available.