‘Monteverdi’s Vespers?’ article by Bartłomiej Gembicki in a Polish music journal
The December issue of ‘Ruch Muzyczny’, the oldest Polish journal devoted to contemporary musical life, carries a popularising article by Bartłomiej Gembicki. The author discusses the phenomenon of what is known as ‘Monteverdi’s Vespers’, demonstrating that in fact this term no longer applies just to ‘Vespro della Beata Vergine’, published in print in Venice in 1610, but to various compilations (generally referred to as reconstructions) which were not produced until the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Gembicki also questions the extent to which Monteverdi’s ‘Vespers 1610’ influence contemporary recordings of vesper compositions by other authors, which at times seem, in a sense, to be in competition with Monteverdi’s work.
Finally, the author considers the myth of ‘Vespers 1610’, according to which this composition was associated with the church of St Mark in Venice. However, in conclusion Gembicki does not try to destroy the myth but, rather, to ‘remove the spell’ as painlessly as possible.
He says: “It seems that, in the case of history, the striving for ‘absolute certainty’ and the desire to be in the presence of ‘something authentic’ can never be satisfied, and one should not worry about it ‒ perhaps it would be better to embrace it, if only because then we will never run short of new vespers by Monteverdi? Perhaps, before (if at all) one reaches for the sources (if determined to spoil the fun), it would be safer to assume in advance that the authorship of the next recorded composition – and not just vespers – is only an interesting hypothesis?”.
The full article in its original Polish version is available on → www.ruchmuzyczny.art.pl. It was written as part of popularising the research conducted within the framework of the SoundMe project.