|Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) : Missa da Capella a sei voci fatta sopra il motetto in illo tempore del Gomberti|
These days we associate the name Claudio Monteverdi largely with the change in style of the early baroque, with its new theatrical approach to composition. Monteverdi was, however, significantly more versatile, also occupying himself closely with the "prima prattica" - the Franco-Flemish polyphonic composition technique of his predecessors. One of his key works in this style of composition (proving to his critics that he was also a virtuosic master of the technique) is his Missa da capella, printed by Ricciardo Armandino in 1610. As the model for this mass Monteverdi chose a motet by one of his predecessors, Nicolas Gombert, who is widely regarded as one of the grand masters of imitative polyphony. Monteverdi extracts 10 motifs from the aforementioned motet and reworks them into his own imitative web of polyphony. As a result he avoids unnecessary and dull repetitions, indeed Monteverdi simply takes up where Gombert left off, developing his own motivic structures and sequences.
This programme sees these boundary-breaking mass movements contrasted with the preceding generation of composers, including works by Cesare Tudino (c.1530-1591/92), Nicola Vincentino (1511-1575), Giaches de Wert (1535-1596) and Luca Marenzio (1554-1599). What one experiences is the fascinating contrast between a "conservative" Monteverdi and his progressive forerunners.
Line up: a cappella