The Fifth Madrigal Book was published in 1605, and dedicated to his patron, Duke Vicenzo Gonzaga de Mantua. It represents a turning point in the work of Monteverdi, who progresses more radically with the innovations. As such, the traditional madrigal for five voices is transformed in this book into madrigale concertato, introducing the instrumental accompaniment of the basso continuo in the final 6 madrigals.
The Sesto libro de madrigali a cinque voci, con uno Dialogo a Sette was published in 1614. The theatre experience accumulated in L’Orfeo and L’Arianna and with them, the resurgence of the monody, start to have an impact on the madrigalistic fabric. The Sixth Madrigal Book is a transitional book. Monteverdi is looking for new trade-offs which break up the traditional polyphonic uniformity of the genre.
In the adaptation offered by the British director, Gerard Jones, five nuclear disaster survivors perform the only music that has made it through the event. Love affairs. An old nature documentary. The life of Monteverdi is staged, with the composer and his wife as an old couple. A boy walks across the stage, giving rise to questions about life and death, infancy and old age. Monteverdi’s wife dies and a funeral ensues. Grief is in the air. Another video shows a natural world that has been lost.
Claudio Giovanni Monteverdi (Cremona, 1567 – Venice 1643) is the most important figure in the transition between the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque period, furthermore, he is the composer of what is considered to be the first opera in history, L’Orfeo.