This fifth instalment of Hyperion's complete sacred music by Monteverdi will, in time, attain a truly historic importance for all this label's fans. After a disastrous legal case concerning copyright, the company had to fork out almost a million pounds and as director Simon Perry admits, expenditure on new recording projects had to be cut dramatically.
Consequently, the Monteverdi cycle was thrown into grave doubt but after several enquiries from music lovers worldwide, contributions started flowing in, and from the GBP 37,000 raised a substantial amount went towards this Monteverdi masterpiece.
A recording that almost never got made is now alive and kicking and what a wonderful treat it is. The previous four volumes from the same team are all superb in more ways than one, but this double-CD issue, which also includes the alternative six-voice 'Magnificat' and 'Missa in Illo Tempore' is in a league of its own.
Never have I heard Monteverdi sung with such glowing beauty and ecstatic intensity; and King's forces manage to attain such majestic eloquence of execution that I seriously doubt whether future Vespers recordings can be even within touching distance of this revelatory and mesmerising interpretation.
The'Magnificat' and 'Missa' are both gloriously done, but it is the Vespro that carry all before them. Spectacular sound quality and profoundly informed annotations complete an undertaking that almost foundered but which now, through Hyperion's doggedness and the generosity of its many admirers has become one of the crowning achievements in this label's history.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech