2010 marks the 500th anniversary of a landmark in music history: Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata Vergine, better known simply as the Vespers. The multi-faceted vocal and instrumental ensemble L’Arpeggiata, founded 10 years ago by Christina Pluhar, is exactly 50 times younger than this great Monteverdi work. L’Arpeggiata was recognized in 2009 by Germany’s prestigious Echo Klassik Award for their first release, Teatro d’Amore, which presented a diverse and improvisational program of pieces by Monteverdi. Here, in her newest release, Pluhar and her musicians engage more formally with an extended work by the same composer.
“The Vespers is one of the supreme masterpieces of music history,” says Pluhar. “Monteverdi exploits all the skills and compositional techniques that existed at the time. All 30 singers and instrumentalists on our recording have had a long and emotional relationship with this work and were very excited by creating this recording with L’Arpeggiata. Over the last 25 years, the approach to performing the Vespers has changed considerably, and hopefully L’Arpeggiata’s version will make its mark.”
Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata vergine is the fruit of L’Arpeggiata’s collaboration with the Festival de Música Antiga de Barcelona, De Bijloke music centre in Ghent, and L’Arsenal concert hall. Located in Metz, France, L’Arsenal concert hall – praised for its acoustics – was the venue where the work was recorded during the 2009 – 2010 season.