Written in 1587, Monteverdi's First Madrigals Book is dedicated to the count Marco Verità, poet and patron of the arts in Verona. Monteverdi was nineteen years old then, and might have wanted to work for him; his dedication offers the count a set of "young compositions," compared with "spring flowers."
The book bears the marks of Marenzio's pastoral influence, and Luzzaschi's dissonant writing style; this is evident with Baci soavi e cari, composed after a poem by Guarini. One of the best-known pieces from the book is, with no doubt, The vaga pastorella, which opens on a series of jumps describing the shepherdess in a field, before the music slides into introspection. Here as elsewhere, joy alternates with the tears: in Filli cara ed amata, the exclamation Ahi! ("alas!") results in a few bars of strong dissonances.
The first book of Monteverdi's madrigals performed by Les Arts Florissants is now available in our subscription catalogue.
This concert opens the complete Monteverdi Madrigals series performed by Les Arts Florissants conducted by Paul Agnew at the Cité de la Musique, the théâtre de Caen and the Valladolid Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes.
Les Arts Florissants are supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, la Ville de Caen and the Région Basse-Normandie. They are in residency at the théâtre de Caen. Imerys is the great benefactor of Les Arts Florissants.
The complete Monteverdi madrigals – Paul Agnew, conductor
Ensemble orchestral de Paris, featuring Ruth Ziesak, Joyce DiDonato, Paul Agnew and Dietrich Henschel