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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Madrigals ‘made spiritual’

Ex Cathedra
Jeffrey Skidmore conductor
featuring Carolyn Sampson (soprano),
James Gilchrist, Matthew Vine (tenors)
David Ponsford (organ)

ALC 1376

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We’re delighted this recording has been re-issued, making available once again our premiere recordings of 19 famous Monteverdi madrigals, sounding revelatory as choral works in sacred guise. Aquilino Coppini, a friend of Monteverdi, was commissioned by the Archbishop of Milan to substitute the secular madrigal texts and publish them “clothed with spiritual words so that [they] be equally commendable to God and to his saints in churches.” The result is a set of glorious motets.

Originally issued in 1997 on ASV Gaudeamus CDGAU 174.

REVIEWS for Monteverdi, Madrigals ‘made spiritual’:

“The church has not generally been slow to wrap an acquisitive cope around secular culture when the dividend has provide tempting. And it was in just such a spirit that Cardinal Borremeo of Milan approached Aquilino Coppini with a view to adapting some of Monteverdi’s madrigals for sacred use… The resulting motets were published in three volumes and 19 of them receive their first recording on this enterprising disc from Ex Cathedra… The sumptuous result is convincing, sensitively moulded and alert to the expressive currency of the Monteverdian dissonance…” (Classic CD ****)
“Ex Cathedra here turn another triumph in their unearthing of little-known repertoire, this time exhuming “churchified” versions of some of Monteverdi’s most fleshly madrigals. Known as contrafacta, they replace often erotic texts wutg spiritual ones, here supplied by Monteverdi’s friend Aquilino Coppini, professor of rhetoric at the University of Pavia. Monteverdi’s music breathes such emotional strength that it can stand this shift of emphasis from Earth to Heaven… Director Jeffrey Skidmore, who prepared these editions from original sources discovered in Italy, allows all the music’s emotional richness full rein whilst maintaining discreet control.” (Birmingham Post ***** Classical CD of the Week)

“Moments of heightened emotional intensity … aptly encapsulated the spiritual and musical aesthetic (The Times)

Motets from the Fifth Book of Madrigals, 1605
Texts by Coppini, 1607

1 Felle amaro
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2 Qui pependit
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3 Pulchrae sunt
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4 Stabat Virgo Maria
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5 Spernit Deus
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6 Sancta Maria
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7 Maria, Maria quid ploras?
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8 Te, Jesu Christe, liberator meus
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9 Ure me, Domine
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10 Gloria tua
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11 Vives in corde meo
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Motets from the Fourth Book of Madrigals, 1603
Texts by Coppini, 1609

12 Jesu, dum te contemplor
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13 Plaga tuas
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14 Cantemus laeti
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15 O Jesu mea vita
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16 O stellae coruscantes
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17 Ardebat igne
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18 Rutilante in nocte
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19 Qui laudes
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