Monteverdi: Selva morale e spirituale


This anthology of liturgical and paraliturgical music is our only surviving testimony to Monteverdi’s intensive compositional activity for St Mark’s: it would appear that many sacred compositions are irretrievably lost.

This ‘Moral and Spiritual Forest’ of 1640 is the most imposing of all the composer’s publications: it necessitated the fabrication of ten separate partbooks (nine for the voices and the instruments, one for the basso continuo) and contains some forty different pieces, some of them on an impressively large scale.

The Selva morale opens with five spiritual madrigals, conceived not for liturgical use but for purposes of education and pious expression outside the church context. These compositions were principally intended for oratories, both public and private, and for the ‘honest entertainment’ of notable citizens, prelates and members of the accademie during penitential seasons.

harmonia mundi

International release: 8 November 2017

Pablo Heras-Casado is the Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real, Madrid, Conductor Laureate of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and records for Deutsche Grammophon & harmonia mundi, as well as a Global Ambassador of Ayuda en Acción.


Photos: Fernando Sancho