In Clorinda e Tancredi, a programme built around the vocal talents of soprano Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli and tenor Luca Dordolo, Marco Mencoboni and Cantar Lontano provide a powerful display of how, in his later secular works, Claudio Monteverdi made the music serve the word at its most intense. A sequence of madrigals – in the broadest sense of the definition of the form – is spearheaded by a dramatic interpretation of the Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (with Riccardo Pisani as Testo, and Dordolo and Lombardi Mazzulli as the two named characters). Lombardi Mazzulli – who also appeared on Glossa’s recent Alcina of Francesca Caccini and Silla of Handel – takes centre stage for an impassioned rendition of the Lamento della ninfa, an ostinato-driven work nicely counterbalanced on this recording by a bonus track of Giovanni Felice Sances’mesmerizing Usurpator tiranno. Two of the other pieces chosen to represent the Baroque musical “shock of the new” for this recording prepared by the Monteverdi specialist Marco Mencoboni are Ed è purdunque vero (from the Scherzi musicali) and the Lettera amorosa (Settimo libro dei madrigali).
In his booklet essay for this new manifestation of Glossa’s abiding passion for the Seicento, Pierre Élie Mamou offers an absorbing analysis of Monteverdi’s adoption of the stile moderno, especially in terms of how it clashed with the ideals of Giovanni Maria Artusi and how it was expressed so potently in the Combattimento.