The Full Monte project…

Following on from the huge success of their Monteverdi 1610 Vespers performances in 2010, the singers of Baroque Voices, directed by Pepe Becker, along with some of the finest early music specialist instrumentalists from New Zealand and abroad, embark upon a four-year project, with the aim of performing most, if not all, of the music contained in Monteverdi’s nine Books of Madrigals, published throughout (and after) his life:


Book 1 (1587) Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci

Book 2 (1590) Il secondo libro de madrigali a cinque voci

Book 3 (1592) Il terzo libro de madrigali a cinque voci

Book 4 (1603) Il quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci

Book 5 (1605) Il quinto libro de madrigali a cinque voci

Book 6 (1614) Il sesto libro de madrigali a cinque voci, con una Dialogo a Sette…

Book 7 (1619) Concerto, settimo libro de madrigali a 1.,2.,3.,4. & sei voci…

Book 8 (1638) Libro Ottavo, Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi, con alcuni opuscoli in genere rappresentativo… ; Tomo VIII (parte seconda), Canti amorosi

Book 9 (1651) Libro Nono, Madrigali e canzonette a due e tre voci


The first four Books include only unaccompanied madrigals for five voices, mostly adhering to the principles of Renaissance polyphony, with occasional glimpses of new flavours yet to come. Book Five however is notable for the addition of a basso continuo instrumental line in some madrigals and a marked change in style, which was heavily criticised by a more conservative Italian composer of the time, Giovanni Artusi.

Undeterred by such attacks upon his stylistic “crudities” and “license”, Monteverdi continued with his progressive ideas, adding instrumental accompaniment to the madrigals published thereafter, and even including semi-operatic elements in his “dramatic representation” and “ballet” which form part of Book Eight.


Rather than presenting the entire collection in chronological order of publication, we begin with Book One (unaccompanied madrigals for five voices), juxtaposed with selections from Book Nine (madrigals and canzonettas for 2-3 voices, with continuo accompaniment. Some subsequent concerts follow a similar format, to show the contrast between prima prattica / stile antico (the older style of polyphonic vocal composition) and seconda prattica / stile moderno (the more radical, highly emotive, modern style of writing instigated by Monteverdi, thus giving him his reputation as a great innovator and ‘master of words’ in his music).


Prima le parole, poi la musica… First the words, then the music…

Do join us on this exciting journey of musical discovery…


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Click here for a review of

The Full Monte: concert 2

Next concert... 

"The Full Monte: concert 5"

Wellington; date and time tba

Bookings, see:


Introductions to each madrigal from Book 3 (numbered) and Book 7, for The Full Monte: concert 3”, by translator David Groves

1. Every woman is eventually consumed by the flames of love

2. The lover has tried to conceal his passion, to no avail

Romanesca (Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4) - In order to preserve her reputation, the maiden has repelled her lover, but now regrets it

3. The shepherd Thyrsis recounts how he stole up on his beloved Phyllis

4. The lover begs his mistress to remain faithful to him

Al lume delle stelle - Thyrsis compares and contrasts the stars with Phyllis’s bright eyes 

5. A woman, abandoned by her lover, remains defiant

6. The lover compares and contrasts his situation with that of the nightingale

Parlo miser - The lover believes the lady knows he loves her and cannot help it

7. The lover survives and even enjoys the fires of love

Tornate - The lover craves kisses to nourish him even though they are bitter-sweet

8.-8a.-8b. (from Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso)

The sorceress Armida has been abandoned by Rinaldo, who has returned to the Christian army besieging Jerusalem, and she gives vent to her passionate despair

9. Spring returns, but it does not restore the lover’s happiness

10. The jilted lover is puzzled that his faithless beloved is still as beautiful as ever

O come sei - The lover compares and contrasts his state with that of a bird in a cage

11.  The lover is so much in love that only death could end it

12. The lover complains that his beloved no longer looks affectionately at him

Ecco vicine - The beloved is going away, and although she resides in the lover’s heart anyway, the lover imagines following her

13. (from Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso)

This passage comes shortly after the account of the combat between Tancredi and Clorinda which Monteverdi set in his Combattimento. Tancredi, sorely wounded, realises that he has inadvertently killed Clorinda, and that her body has been left behind in the darkness 

S’el vostro cor - The lady herself has been slighted by another, so should now sympathise with the lover 

14. The lover complains once more that his lady no longer looks lovingly at him

Tu dormi? – The more the lover pours out his heart, the more the lady calmly ignores him                                                        

15.-15a.  Thyrsis has been exiled and must leave his beloved Phyllis; they cannot bear to part


Below are some of our photos and posters, etc, from previous Full Monte concerts...

Series now extended to 2018

"The Full Monte: concert 4"

3pm, SUN 28 April 2013

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington


Performers -


BV: Pepe Becker, Jayne Tankersley,

Andrea Cochrane, Christopher Warwick,

Jeffrey Chang, Simon Christie


with: Robert Oliver (bass viol),

Jonathan Berkhan (virginalls)