Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:

  42:4 (03-04 /2019)
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information
Les abonnés à Fanfare Magazine ont accès aux archives du magazine sur internet.
Subscribers to Fanfare Magazine have access to the archives of the magazine on the net.



Code-barres / Barcode : 4250128517027


Outil de traduction ~ (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)

Reviewer: J. F. Weber


This is somewhat different than most other versions of the Vespers of 1610 (there are 69 on records by my count). There are no concertato instruments, hence the omission of the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria and the use of the Magnificat à 6 rather than the Magnificat à 7. It is generally assumed that the larger setting, placed before the smaller one in the print, was intended for First Vespers (the evening before the feast day and the more splendid celebration), while the smaller setting would be used for Second Vespers on the following evening. The players include a continuo group of three along with a sackbut and a cornett. There are 13 singers, so this is not a one-voice-to-a-part interpretation. The antiphons for the Common of the Blessed Virgin are sung framing the five psalms (but only before the canticle, not after), treating the concertos as supplementary works rather than as antiphon substitutes (the usual understanding of their purpose).

This is not the first time the antiphons have been repeated (Harnoncourt and Bardazzi were two who did), but I called the practice redundant until Boterf came out with the idea that the concertos are not antiphon substitutes but added motets. Since there is no concerto after the fifth psalm, two works by Frescobaldi are inserted at that point. One is an organ toccata before the ricercar, the other a ricercar for voices and organ (adding sackbut and cornett). Using the same text, they actually replace the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria.

The booklet claims that this is the first recording of the Vespers without concertato instruments. It is not—at least two such versions have been issued. Hermann Max recorded the first one in 1990; I bought it because it was never issued here. Another was recorded by Patrick Dupré Quigley (Fanfare 34:3). Both versions used one voice to a part selectively, adding a large chorus where judged to be needed. Both used the Magnificat à 6 and only a continuo group of instruments, and the sonata was omitted. Max replaced it with the same Frescobaldi ricercar, using only one voice and organ. Even so, both versions fitted on a single disc, whereas Boterf’s does not.

The antiphons for Second Vespers of the Blessed Virgin are the same set used by Gabriel Garrido (23:5), although he used the seven-voice setting of the Magnificat where this antiphon for the canticle is incorrect. The same set was used by Diego Fasolis (not reviewed here) and William Christie (22:4) except for using the correct antiphon for First Vespers. Others have used sets of antiphons for various feasts, including the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (Bardazzi and Pickett), the Annunciation (Rogers and McCreesh), the Assumption (Parrott, Pearlman, and Gini), and even St. Barbara (Savall and Christophers). No matter which set of antiphons is chosen, none of them match the modes of Monteverdi’s psalms. Many have solved that problem, as Denis Stevens first advocated, by choosing a Marian antiphon matching the mode of each psalm—but that is no solution either, for none of the many such efforts has used the antiphons where they belong in their liturgical assignments. García Alarcón, as I said (38:2), cut the Gordian knot by using an appropriate set of antiphon texts and making up chant settings for them using fragments of existing melodies (called centonization in chant circles).

Whenever a Vespro is generally satisfactory, as this one is, I go to the deal-breaker in the work, the fiendishly difficult Duo Seraphim for three tenors. Only a few versions can equal the recording under Philip Pickett (14:6), where it actually sounds easy. Apart from this stratospheric standard, the singing and playing is very fine. The sound of sackbut and cornett almost makes one forget the lack of concertato instruments. If the comparisons are limited to Max and Quigley, the former is a very fine interpretation, while the latter has problems that were detailed in the review. One solution is to go for the complete publication of 1610, including both Magnificats and the Missa In illo tempore. We can have Hanns-Martin Schneidt (22:4), the fine Masaaki Suzuki (25:2), Robert King (29:6), and Roberto Gini (34:2) or, lacking the Mass, the first Michel Corboz, the second John Eliot Gardiner (14:5), the Gabriel Garrido (23:5 and 27:1), and the superb Rinaldo Alessandrini (28:4). This is a worthy entry in a very crowded field.

Fermer la fenêtre/Close window

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à droite)
Livraison mondiale

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and curency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper right corner of the page)
Worldwide delivery

Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews