Maria Cristina Kiehr, Barbara Borden, Andreas Scholl, John Bowen, Victor Torres, Andrew Murgatroyd, Antonio Abete, Jelle Draijer
Concerto Vocale, Nederlands Kamerkoor & Nederlands CO, René Jacobs
René Jacobs leads what by 1990s standards is a large-scale performance of Monteverdi's popular1610 Vespers: not only does he use a chorus in thePsalmsandMagnificat, but he has his instrumentalists double the vocal parts for much of the time as well. In fact, Jacobs has encouraged his lead cornettist (the extraordinary Jean Tubéry) to embellish freely and has even added a part (evidently newly composed) for him in one of the Psalms (Laetatus sum).
The performance is as lively and as colorful as all of this would lead you to expect, but the moments of calm devotion are nicely done as well--most notably the soprano duet "Pulchra es," sung spellbindingly by Maria Cristina Kiehr and Barbara Borden. Every one of the soloists does sterling work, in fact; they are this performance's greatest strength.