1 LP - 6.41930 AW - (p) 1975
1 CD - 8.43635 ZS - (c) 1987

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Lettera amorosa - a voce sola in genere rappresentativo, 1619 7' 09"
Con che soavità - concerto a una voce e istromenti, 1619 4' 26"
Lamento d'Arianna - (Ariana) 1613 12' 49"
"L'Orfeo" - Mira, deh mira, Orfeo... In un fiorito prato 6' 36"
- 2. Akt, Pastore secondo, Messaggera, Pastore primo, Orfeo

"L'Incoronazione di Poppea" - Disprezzata Regina
4' 23"

- 1. Akt, V. Szene, Ottavia

"L'Incoronazione di Poppea" - Tu che dagli avi miei... Maestade, che prega 6' 16"
- 2. Akt, IX. Szene, Ottavia, Ottone

"L'Incoronazione di Poppea" - A Dio Roma 3' 56"
- 3. Akt, VI. Szene, Ottavia

Cathy Berberian, Mezzosopran


- Herbert Tachezi, Cembalo Extracted from the production of 1969:
- Johann Sonnleitner, Cembalo (2) Telefunken SKH 21/1-3
- Toyohiko Satoh, Chitarrone (2)

- Alice Harnoncourt, Violine (2,3)
L'Incoronazione di Poppea
- Walter Pfeiffer, Violine (2,3)
Extracted from the production of 1974:
- Kurt Theiner, Viola (2,3) Telefunken 6.35247 HD
- Josef de Sordi, Tenorbratsche (3)

- Elli Kubizek, Viola da Gamba (2)

- Jonathan Cathie, Viola da Gamba (2)

- Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Violoncello (2,3)

- Eduard Hruza, Violone (2,3)

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Leitung

Luogo e data di registrazione
1975 (A1-A3)
Registrazione live / studio
Producer / Engineer
Prima Edizione CD
Teldec "reference" - 8.43635 ZS - (1 cd) - 46' 21" - (c) 1987 - AAD
Prima Edizione LP
Telefunken "Das Alte Werk" - 6.41930 AW - (1 lp) - 46' 21" - (p) 1975

The presentation of early dramatic music is fraught with problems which scarcely respond to general solutions. On the one hand within this music the dramatic forms of the recitative and aria, as well as of orchestral treatment of the Italian opera, are not yet as fully developed as in Mozart’s master works, where this tradition is super-elevated and concluded. Nor are the parts entirely through composed, but expect the singer to provide his own arrangement with improvising figures. On the other hand the tradition of this older vocalpractice has been lost to both the singer and the listener. However, a singer’s basic renunciation of his own arrangement would not only impair the musical dramatic impact, but also adulterate the work. Monteverdi’s musical, artistic reasons for his dramatic compositions were similar to those which moved Mozart to write “Figaro’s Hochzeit” or Verdi “La Traviata": It was not merely a matter of musically illustrating a plot; the object was musically to depict human beingswith their feelings and wishes, with their finest spiritual impulses.
Cathy Berberian is aware that any attempt at reconstruction of the missing tradition would amount to a bogus return to history, a kind of pretence. But her knowledge of the general practices of that era, the examples of which produced in text books cannot be transferred to each and every piece, her appreciation of the repercussions of Monteverdi and his intentions, combined with an enormous feeling for music and almost unlimited vocal possibilities, contribute towards a new Monteverdi interpretation. Thus a vocal style emerges which is far removed from the history-laden ecstasy of early music, but full of inner drama, derived from the music itself. It is above all the intonation, which is unconventional for early music, the breadth of the dynamic shades which are derived from the spiritual impulses of the persons in the music rather than being vested in the music. Dramatic outbursts and the almost “speaking expression", such as in the magnificent “Lamento d’Arianna” are taken as much for granted as the free arrangement of the timing when reading the “Love Letter”. Improvised coloraturas and trills are consciously ecnomical, but are applied with an unerring sense for the appropriate spots; not every long sustained note can take an embellishment, and many of them are already through composed.
The news of the death of Euridice, brought to Orpheus by the messenger, is quite rightly regarded as the musically most important scene in “Orfeo” because the emotions of the messenger and Orpheus confront each other. The basic idea of the whole opera culminates in this excerpt. Cathy Berberian’s vocal expressive range reaches at this point a richness of timbre which only fifteen or twenty years ago would have been criticised as completely un-Baroque. And yet the essence of this touching scene could scarcely be more effectively reproduced than with the almost toneless, and yet in its hardness fully articulated sentence “La tua diletta sposa é morta” (Thy beloved wife is dead). Thus Monteverdi’s music has neither an academic nor historising effect, nor is a later operatic style forced upon it; because of an appreciation of its problems it is dramatically vivid music with a direct impact.
Gerhard Schuhmacker
Translation: Frederick A. Bishop

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)
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