One of the highlights of this year's Ambronay Festival was undoubtedly Marco Mencoboni and Cantar Lontano's performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. Deliberately shunning all modern editions of this masterpiece, Cantar Lontano prefer to work directly with the original scores from 1610, an approach which, combined with the scholarship of Mencoboni himself, opens up new perspectives on Monteverdi's art.
Here are two excerpts from the concert given on 10th September 2010 in the abbey church at Ambronay, unfortunately not best served by the church's acoustics, which tend to flatten out the spatial element of the music:-
Here is Mencoboni himself, explaining in more detail the group's approach to the work, and in particular the interpretation of the sesquialtere:-
Here, Mencoboni expands on the interpretation of Pulchra es, in the course of which he advances a surprising theory, namely that given the substantial Jewish presence in Venice at the time, Monteverdi would have been acquainted with the Hebrew version of the Old Testament. One recalls, 150 years later, Casanova's similarly impressive knowledge of the Old Testament and the Jewish religion.