Monteverdi Vespers of 1610: John Kilpatrick's Edition, for 2010


This edition is of the 1610 Vespers, and is based on the original partbooks. The 6-part Magnificat is not included.

The Lauda Jerusalem and the Magnificat are presented in the lower choice of pitch (a 4th down from the apparent pitch in the part-books); this makes them less bright to modern ears, but is now considered to represent what would have been intended and expected 400 years ago, and also keeps the instruments within their normal playing ranges for that time. No antiphons are included (but there is an opening intonation). The Altus parts are scored for altos rather than high tenors, using the treble-G clef, with alternative notes offered in one or two places where the line goes very low. Triple time is represented in crotchets, rather than Monteverdi's semibreves.

The barring in this edition is of the editor's, not taken from other sources.. Typically, long bars are used in choral sections, but short in solo passages, "long" meaning 4/2 or 6/4 (rather than 2/2 or 3/4). Using long barring results in left-over half-bars, and these are placed where they make some sense, not necessarily at the end of sections, making the barring not the same as in other published editions. Accidentals may also differ from those in other editions, and endings (pauses, note lengths or rests) may vary.

Care has been taken over paging: most numbers start on a left-hand page and end on a right. Needless to say, there are still some bad page turns!

The instrument scoring is for 6 x brass and 6 x strings; no contrabass part is included. The string parts can be played in 1st position throughout, except for a few cello notes. The brass can, of course, cornetts & sackbutts, though this edition has been prepared for a performance using modern (or not-so-modern) instruments as follows:
    2 x D trumpet & 1 x Bb cornet
    2 x "pea-shooter" tenor trombones, and 1 x "pea-shooter" bass trombone (in F: though only one note is just off-range for a G trombone)
    2 x violin, 2 x viola, and 2 x cello; it helps if the viola players can also play reorders for the few bars in the Magnificat
    1 x chamber organ and (optionally) 1 x harpsichord 

The instruments play wherever Monteverdi specifically wrote for them, but, in addition, doubling parts have been included in the psalms, the hymn, and the certain places in the Magnificat, using orchestration of the editor's choice. The intention is to make sensible use of the forces available - something that (arguably) Monteverdi would have done in any actual performance.

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