Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Echoes of genius, Tuesday 22nd June 2010

The choir of St Paul's Cathedral performed the Monteverdi Vespers to a full audience as part of the City of London Festival, which runs to 6th August.

Despite being a choral singer, I had never heard this work before but it is full of choral theatre with soloists positioned around the cathedral singing as echoes to a central soloist. Even cleverer, the echoer sings the end of the word previously sung by the main soloist, with a changed meaning. For example the first tenor sings, "Benedicam" (I bless) and the echo sings "Dicam" (I shall tell). Again, the first tenor sings, "Remedium" (to remedy) and the echo sings "Medium" (the mediator). Darned clever.

Monteverdi wrote it in 1610 as a job application for Maestro di Cappella at the Basilica of St Mark's in Venice. No surprises that he was appointed 4 days after the first performance.

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