The towering masterpiece of the late Renaissance-early Baroque, Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 was the most ambitious work of sacred music until Bach’s great oratorios more than a century later. It expresses the pageantry of grand Venetian style and the intimacy of solo serenade in a striking assimilation of both old and new styles. This creates an astonishing variety of “modern” music superimposed upon an old-style cantus firmus technique. The two styles are reconciled with breathtaking beauty, and the technique allows Monteverdi to build an enormous structure that surpasses anything his contemporaries were able to achieve. No other surviving work from the time is written on such a scale. The forces alone were unheard of in its day: strings, recorders, dulcian, cornetti, sackbuts, theorbos, harpsichord, organ, two choirs and many vocal soloists, including tenors “echoing” from a remote stairwell.
We are proud to feature the Dark Horse Consort, which is comprised of the finest period instrumentalists in the United States.