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Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine ()

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It's not easy to pinpoint precisely what makes Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata's performances of Baroque music, particularly Monteverdi, so extraordinary and distinctive, even in a time -- the early 21st century -- when (pardon the oxymoron) exceptionally fine recordings of this repertoire are the rule rather than the exception. One element may be the inventiveness of her realizations of the continuo part. Composers of the early Baroque generally wrote only a bass line for the accompaniment, an indication of the harmony, and occasionally a specification as to what instruments should be used, leaving the choice of the actual notes to be played, and usually, which instruments to the discretion of the performer. On this recording, for example, Pluhar uses at various times Baroque harp, psaltery (a hammered dulcimer), two small organs, violas da gamba, archlutes, and theorbos to create fresh, richly textured, and varied accompaniments, and the figures they play are imaginative and nuanced. A second... Hide synopsis

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