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on March 12, 2004
Andrew Parrott's recording is rightly considered by critics and listeners alike as THE recording of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. Using minimal forces, the individual voices layering upon one another can be clearly heard, not drowned out into a mass of sound as in many "fuller" recordings. The only other "five-star" recording of the Vespers is the Konrad Junghanel with Cantus Colln.
If I could only own one recording of this work, the Andrew Parrott would me the one.
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on September 4, 2000
I have long heard about this recording, the darling of the Seventh-Day Authenticists, and, having heard only excerpts to date, jumped at the chance to buy it at mid-price. Boy, was I disappointed! It's not that it isn't well played and sung, it is. It's just that it's totally lacking in soul or feeling of any kind. It's a museum piece, resurrected for our academic study. Listen instead to Gardiner's brilliant recording in St. Marco's. Gardiner may play fast and loose with the instrumentation, but by gosh the piece LIVES. In Gardiner's hands, the Vespers take their rightful place alongside the great choral masterpieces of the world, the St. Matthew, the B Minor Mass, Messiah, etc. In Parrot's hands, the thing just curls up and goes to sleep - and me with it.
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on September 12, 2003
Parrott's interpretation is superb in the wonderful recording. The breath of musical styles the Vespers represented for Monteverdi are aptly captured by Parrott's usual thorough scholarly approach coupled with his tasteful musicianship. Those that question his style might perhaps enjoy the an upcoming staged performance by H&H that will use Asian dances. Exactly what Monteverdi envisioned I'm sure!!
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on November 19, 2000
I first heard this recording in 1991 and I believe it is still one of the very best recordings available. The singing is absolutely wonderful ... the rustic string sounds and the clear voices (no fat wobbles here but no pinched hooting sopranos either). The Vespers is interspersed with chant and convincingly played Cima sonatas. The sound is spacious in the chorus and intimate in the ensemble passages with very little reverberations. An example of the high caliber voices can be heard in the "Duo Seraphim" (the tempo chosen is no sweat for those 3 tenors). With a star-studded ensemble including Emma Kirkby, Nigel Rogers (I love his voice!), Roger Covey-Crump, John Holloway, Bruce Dickey, Lisa Beznosiuk, and members at one time or another of the Tallis Scholar, the Hilliard Ensemble, Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert; how can one go wrong???? Sorry, this performance doesn't sound like a secular musical orgy. Which is yet another reason why I give it 5 stars.

NOTE: the recording of the Selva Morale e Spirituale is not so great. Don't buy the CD for that ... buy it for the Vespers of 1610.
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on September 8, 2000
(Don't know what happened to my previous attempt to review this recording, but here goes again...)
I am a big fan of Monteverdi's Vespers. Having seen this version extolled in many quarters, I bought it. Boy, was I disappointed! It is undoubtedly well sung and played, but there's no LIFE in the thing! It's a museum piece dusted off for the occasion. I can only wonder what the editorial reviwer had been drinking when he reviewed it. Gardiner in his San Marco version may have bolstered the instrumentation a bit, but his version lives and breathes, like real music. It demonstrates the power and majesty of this extraordinary work and shows it to be worthy to stand alongside the great choral masterpieces of later years. This one falls completely flat. Sorry, Andrew!
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on November 17, 2001
This is a stunning recording, which fully brings to life the work of Monteverdi, a composer often overlooked, although a pioneer of opera.
The musicians perform with confidence and vibrancy. Tracks 1, 9 and 11 on CD 2 are especially good, with many divine passages in which the vocalists weave their parts together gracefully.
The CD is remarkably good value, with two CDs for a rather low price, considering the wonderful quality and variety of works featured, which range from stunning instrumental sections featuring strings and cornets, to lyrical soprano duets.
This CD truly evokes a medieval mood and is a rich masterpiece. I strongly recommend it to anyone with a passion for sacred choral music...the works are extremely uplifting.
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on March 14, 2001
This is a great recording. The performance is spare and streamlined -- almost minimalist -- but I think that makes it really beautiful and effective. I also like Parrott's version of the Bach B minor mass with one voice per part -- spare but gorgeous. Everyone else sounds overblown by comparison.
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on January 30, 2003
This is a poorly done version of Modtverdi's Verpers, by someone who has little understanding of the music of the period. Phrasings are long to the extent that structure of these great pieces are over stretched. I long for a performance better than Mr. Parrott's.
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on June 12, 2016
Lovely music
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