Monday night Monteverdi

Last night I went to a Baroque Voices concert, and had a lovely Monteverdi overdose! "The Full Monte: Concert 3" was full of madrigals for different configurations of up to five voices, some accompanied by bass viol plus theorbo or chitarrino. A theorbo, by the way, is a kind of long-necked lute (I think they look really cool with their outrigger strings - see below!), and a chitarrino is a kind of small guitar (I think that's one in the painting below).

Theorbo player, c.1615

The music for this concert was mainly from Monteverdi's third book of madrigals (1592), with some added highlights from the seventh book (1619). Baroque Voices is performing all nine books over the course of their "Full Monte" series - quite an undertaking! To give you an idea of the style of music, here's a video of some of the same singers doing a piece from the second book of madrigals (from their last concert, in April):

And one with instruments accompanying:

The concert was directed by soprano Pepe Becker, who conducted the group occasionally as necessary. The texts of the madrigals are your standard Baroque fare: love-lorn shepherds and shepherdesses, lovers and fair ladies, heroic knights and wicked sorceresses. A neat addition to the concert was the declamation (in impassioned Italian) of some of the texts by David Groves, who had translated them for the programme.

The venue was Wellington's Sacred Heart Cathedral - a slightly odd choice for a secular-themed concert. The interior is a neo-classical pink-and-white confection that always makes me think of meringues or ice-cream cakes!

Sacred Heart Cathedral, in all its pink-and-white glory

One of the most enjoyable aspects (for me) was that lots of the music was unfamiliar. This is the beauty of an unabridged concert series - you don't just hear the same few most-popular works, you get surprises too! Only one of the pieces was one I'd sung before: Ahi, sciocco mondo cieco, a soprano duet which Theresa and I sang for a choir party item once upon a time. Monteverdi is so much fun to sing! I miss my duet buddies, I do...