Little is known of the life of Paschal de L'Estocart, the French composer of the late Renaissance who was roughly a contemporary of Claude Le Jeune (1528 -1600). He seems to have been sympathetic to the Protestant Reformers – he spent considerable time in Germany and his music was published in Geneva – but later in life he applied unsuccessfully to the French King for a position at an abbey. His collection of psalms and motets, Sacrae Cantiones, 16 of which are recorded here, are mostly in French, along with several in Latin, and was dedicated to Calvinist Count Palatine Johann Casimir in 1582. This collection also includes his Ode in 12 parts, set to religious texts in French. L'Estocart's music is typical of late Renaissance polyphony, eclectic in its use of a cantus firmus, imitative counterpoint, and homophonic writing, with an unusually free use of dissonance. The French mixed a cappella ensemble Ludus Modalis, led by Bruno Boterf, specializes in music of this era and sings with passion and authority. Intonation is immaculate and tone quality is pure and unforced. The recorded sound is clean, but spacious and warm.
This luxurious set containing 39 CDs, 3 DVDs, 1 CD-Rom and four detailed booklets will tell you the full story of Baroque opera in Italy, France, England, and Germany. No fewer than 17 complete operas (including two on DVD) and two supplementary CDs (the dawn of opera, Overtures for the Hamburg Opera) provide the most comprehensive overview of the genre ever attempted! The finest performers are assembled here under the direction of René Jacobs and William Christie to offer you 47 hours of music. An opportunity to discover or to hear again the masterpieces of Baroque opera, some of which have been unavailable on CD for many years.
Monteverdi was only 23 when he published his Second Book of Madrigals in 1590, but he was already a master of the form, and these contrapuntally lively pieces, with their supple and astute text setting, are crowning works of late Renaissance secular polyphony. With this release of the Second Book, Rinaldo Alessandrini moves closer to his goal of recording all of Monteverdi's eight Books of Madrigals, performed by Concerto Italiano, the ensemble he founded in 1984. The series has received much-deserved critical acclaim; three of the releases won Gramophone Awards, and this 1994 recording won a Diapason d'Or. Concerto Italiano is a group whose roster is flexible, based on the requirements of the music performed, and here seven unaccompanied singers configure themselves in a variety of combinations in the five-part madrigals.
Monteverdi was seventy-one when he published his Eighth Book of madrigals. This collection, a monumental work of remarkable beauty, is a synthesis of all Monteverdi's experience in the realm of secular music. It is the culmination of a genre, the Italian madrigal, which here achieves a rare state of perfection. INDISPENSABLE!
As part of their comprehensive survey of the music of Claudio Monteverdi, Claudio Cavina and La Venexiana delivered an exceptional version of L’Orfeo, a reading which had been honed by their trailblazing interpretations of the composer’s madrigals. This highly-esteemed recording of the favola in musica – critics applauded and fêted it in many different countries – subsequently dropped out of the catalogue and Glossa is very pleased to have the opportunity to return it there as part of this year’s 450th anniversary commemorations of the composer’s birth.
Genius can be defined in a number of ways. One such definition is to be the right person in the right place at the right time; another is to have the capacity to move your audience to tears. Monteverdi meets both these criteria with flying colours. His professed ambition was to "move the passions of the soul," thereby drawing tears from his audience, and he achieved this with greater efficacy than any of his contemporaries. The use of the word "madrigal" on the title pages of his eight collections (and a posthumous Ninth Book from 1651) is therefore deceptive, concealing radical stylistic changes which brilliantly reflect the turbulent, exciting times in which he lived.
From the early 1630s onwards, Monteverdi had little by little become detached from his secular occupations – perhaps preparing to take his leave of earthly existence. But when he was already over 70 he set to work once more, publishing his eighth book of madrigals before offering the public a bulky collection of sacred works in the shape of the Selva morale e spirituale. Infinitely more ambitious than the comparable anthologies of his contemporaries, the work is here presented complete, enabling the listener to discover the whole range of Monteverdi’s output of sacred music, from madrigals and virtuoso solo motets to the most elaborate polyphony. In his preface evoking the multifarious “creatures” sheltered by this vast “moral and spiritual forest”, the father of Baroque music was merely emphasising the wonderful diversity of styles so characteristic of his wide-ranging genius.
With The All-Baroque Box we realize one of our fondest dreams: harnessing the deep catalogue of Archiv Produktion (supplemented on occasion by Decca L oiseau lyre recordings) to create a comprehensive collection of great music from Monteverdi to Bach. The music ranges from huge Baroque (Missa Salisburgensis, Venetian polychoral, Charpentier Te Deum) to intimate Baroque (the Goldberg Variations, Bach cello suites, solo cantatas) overwhelming in its impact and emotional content.