Three Masses by Claudio Monteverdi have come down to us. The oldest one is the Missa in illo tempore from 1610. Huelgas Ensemble brings this Mass a capella, interlarding the parts of the Mass with a number of madrigals that served as Monteverdi’s sources of inspiration: works by Nicola Vicentino, Cipriano de Rore, Luca Marenzio and Giaches de Wert.
In the Missa in illo tempore Monteverdi engages in a conspicuously conscious quest for the style of the Franco-Flemish school. The complex polyphony has been conceived intellectually in a rigorous way, taking advantage of Monteverdi’s rich harmonies and imitations. Thus Paul van Nevel confronts Claudio’s ancient prima prattica style with the seconda prattica of his predecessors. Therefore tradition and innovation are not necessarily a matter of time sequence, but can mutually enrich each other simultaneously!