Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) was an Italian composer in the late Renaissance whose innovative compositions led to the birth of opera as a new style of music. In addition to early operas and church music, Monteverdi published nine books of Madrigals, or Renaissance love poems sung and arranged for several voices. “Lamento Della Ninfa” (the Lament of the Nymph) is part of his eighth madrigal book (originally titled “Madrigali dei guerrieri et amorosi” – Madrigals of War and Love) and was published in 1638.
Here we find the famous “Lament of the Nymph”, a heart-wrenching soprano solo with mournful sidelines by a male trio, over a relentless four-note ground bass. Adding to the drama of the piece is the composer’s instruction that the soprano exercise rhythmic license to accentuate the harsh melodic dissonances, while the remainder of the ensemble observes tempo strictly. Jeremy Grimshaw – Allmusic
Christina Pluhar’s early music ensemble l’Arpeggiata have recorded a superb version of the song with soprano Núria Rial in “Teatro d’Amore” (2009).
Norwegian folk singer Ane Brun’s flair for elegant cover songs is once again much in evidence in her version of Monteverdi’s “Lamento Della Ninfa”. The song was beautifully adapted in English and in the folk idiom. Recorded here live in September 2011 for 2 Meter Sessions, a Dutch television and radio show, the song was also released the same year as a bonus track on the album It All Starts With One.
La Venexiana: Monteverdi meets jazz
La Venexiana is an Italian early music ensemble specialised in the 16th and 17th century madrigal repertory. The group was founded in 1998 by conductor Claudio Cavina. In 2011, the ensemble experimented with a Jazz trio and recorded ‘Round M: Monteverdi meets Jazz. This is not a crossover or a fusion album as such since soprano Roberta Mameli and the accompanying baroque musicians do not derive from the original score while the jazz trio provides harmonic backing. It works extremely well on a track like “Lamento Della Ninfa” where Emanuele Cisi’s saxophone provides a wonderful counterpoint to Roberta Mameli’s vocal lines.