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At long last I have nearly finished the 7th book. This book has posed some issues as it is such complex music it is almost impossible to cut it down to 5 parts while maintaining its integrity. As a result, some songs will be in 6 or more parts.
This section of the 7th book is really a miniature scena (although Monteverdi describes it as a ballet), telling the story of Tirsi and Clori (Thyrsis and Chloris) two lovers from ancient greek myths. This piece is the final section of Tirsi e Clori, which Monteverdi describes as the Ballo (Dance) where all the characters in the story provide a spectacle of celebration at the end of the performance. There is a short (12 measure) section forming an introduction at a slow tempo, followed by a 1-in-a-bar dance, a change occurs at measure 113 to simple duple time before returning to a rousing reprise of the lively 3/2 music. The whole is brought to a rousing conclusion with a long cadence in what is rapidly approaching the Baroque style.
The instruments are divided between two 'choirs' a 5-part one, representing the singers (Cantus,Quintus, Alto, Tenor and Bass) and a four part accompanying group representing the continuo. There is also an optional percussion part, as the original would have been so accompanied, even though it was not notated in the score.
At just over 8 minutes in length, this is a great finisher for a concert - or, in the right circumstances, a starter - especially as Monteverdi has made the ending very loud and full.
The seventh book has been a challenge. The much more intricate music, showing Monteverdi's development towards a true operatic technique requires a really careful study of his orchestrations. It has been a great pleasure to set this music and I hope lots of ensembles will 'give it a go'!