May 19, 2014

Nikolaus Harnoncourt's pioneering Monteverdi trilogy reissued

The Austrian conductor was at the forefront of the early music revival with this iconic set featuring Cathy Berberian.

He conducts Bruckner and Gershwin, Beethoven, Verdi and Johann Strauss – but at the  beginning of his career Nikolaus Harnoncourt, one of the most revered maestros of our time, was a major pioneer of historical performance practice. With his ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien he re-established the 'original sound' of early Baroque music in the 20th-century concert hall.

From 1968 to 1974 he rediscovered the father of opera, Claudio Monteverdi, resulting in three studio recordings of his operas. Among the vocalists are Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz and Max van Egmond but also renowned opera singers such as Elisabeth Söderström, Helen Donath, and Sven-Olof Eliasson. These highly esteemed recordings are now re-released in a boxed set in the Das Alte Werk series, together with Harnoncourt’s Monteverdi album with the legendary Cathy Berberian, which has been out of print for many years.

Featuring Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione de Poppea plus the great scene Lamento d 'Arianna - the sole surviving fragment of the 1608 opera L'Arianna - the release is a complete edition of Monteverdi’s dramatic works. These productions are still regarded as milestones that should not be labelled as “historical recordings” – they sound as fresh and sensual as ever.

More information on Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Monteverdi trilogy here.