Format: high resolution 44.1 kHz, a bit depth of 16 bits
When I entered the church of Santa Barbara a couple of years ago and looked up, I saw myself twenty years younger. In that same place, seated at the keyboard of a clavichord, I played the continuo for a music ensemble: it was 1987 and we were recording Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers. We were working in the main nave, at ground floor, but I often looked up, towards the organ. Having obtained my organ diploma a couple of years earlier, that instrument and its repertoire were my whole life and one thing I knew for sure already: that music should be sung and played from up there, from the chancels, which in the past used to be called “choirs” too (ad ecclesiarum Choros, wrote Monteverdi). Luckily in Mantua, besides Graziadio Antegnati’s magnificent organ – all the chancels are accessible, the same ones that were available in Claudio Monteverdi’s time. The rendition of any musical work of the past poses a series of interpretative issues, which increase exponentially in the case of a complex piece like the Vespers. The performing “habits” established in the course of the last decades are dictated by the taste of the performers more than by what was written on the ancient documents. Often that taste crystallised, becoming for modern musicians an authoritative source in their turn, up to the point that many of the editions recorded on disc or presented during concerts, sound more or less the same.