This concert takes us to a world ruled by Cupid and Venus – the world of falling in love, violent gusts of heart, the idyll and sweet tortures of love. The madrigals on love and war by Claudio Monteverdi, a master of the genre, will be performed by real experts – the Italian vocal group La Compagnia del Madrigale.
Monteverdi created madrigals from his youth to the end of his career, and his top achievement is the 8th Book of Madrigals, presented during this concert, published in 1638, containing pieces on love and war. Let us not be fooled by the title ‘war’ (‘guerrieri’), depicted in music through numerous battle effects – a jocular metaphor of the struggle of the heart attacked with Cupid's arrows. Monteverdi's madrigals are a conversation. They were sung in the lively courts of Renaissance Italy, where the art of conversation was necessary for every courtier. The voices in madrigals give each other and take away from each other fragments of poetic text, stop at some words and repeat the most important concepts. We have the impression of endless singing, because when one of the voices needs to take a breath, the melody is taken over by another one. In Monteverdi's time, modern theatre was born and the composer masterfully included stage tricks in his music. Most of the madrigals from the 8th Book are small dramatic scenes – with the representation of heroes, the development of plot, dialogues and conflicts, and a denouement. The dramaturgy is built by the rhythm, skilful use of dissonances, contrasts, tensions, exaggeration, as well as a musical sense of humour typical of the Renaissance.
Apparently, Claudio Monteverdi emanated nobility and charmed with modesty of life devoted entirely to music. For all his merits, one would have vainly sought his name in concert programmes still in the first half of the 20th century. Fortunately, thanks to the work of, among others, ensembles such as La Compagnia del Madrigale, the Monteverdi madrigals are becoming more and more popular, so we can enjoy his pleasurable work also during Wratislavia Cantans. We invite you on a journey to bedazzling Renaissance palaces, where among the works of art and elaborate costumes in the splendour of the Mediterranean sun resounded music showing the spirit of the Renaissance – full of individuality, passion and aspiration to greatness.