Plymouth Philharmonic Choir – Monteverdi Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610)
Monteverdi’s Vespers was written over a hundred years earlier than some of the other big guns in Baroque choral repertoire, like Handel’s Messiah, or Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Yet performances only started happening during the 1930s, spurred on by the post-war interest in early music.
The work is not only quite different in concept, sound and design from other works of the period, but, and, as one choir-member is reported to have commented, on the choir’s Facebook page, ‘”It’s b****y difficult!”
In the event, though, Plymouth Philharmonic Choir did a superb job, as did the orchestra and the seven soloists in bringing Monteverdi’s epic and challenging creation to life, and which they simply couldn’t have achieved without the expertise and drive from conductor, Christopher Fletcher, who still managed to retain his usual sartorial elegance, despite having arrived at the Guildhall with his customary white tuxedo still languishing on its hanger at home.
Someone, though, still needs to sort the apparent ongoing problem with the public address system, as a good number of the audience had little or no idea what was being said at the start or after the interval, which was annoyingly frustrating, especially when a microphone was available and used initially.
You can read my full review of the event here at Seen and Heard International.
(image: Plymouth Philharmonic Choir (c) Howard Perks)
Philip R Buttall
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