In a certain way, this new disc from La Venexiana can be thought of as having the qualities of a pause or “interval” following the Monteverdian intensity of recent years – during which time the group has recorded the entirety of the madrigals by the Mantuan author (eight volumes), the Selva morale e spirituale and L’Orfeo – and before going on to tackle new and ambitious projects. According to the group’s director, Claudio Cavina, in these Scherzi Musicali “I have wanted to have a joke with music, taking a look at Claudio Monteverdi's oeuvre from a concept of ‘light’ music very different to that of a Quinto Libro de Madrigali or an Orfeo. Thus, we find ourselves before the mature phase of the Monteverdian output, Monteverdi as precursor, experimenter and innovator. The pizzicati from the theorbos and the harp, the melodic lines of the cornetto, the swing of the voice... we present a divertissement for performers and listeners alike.” The core of this programme is formed by the Scherzi musicali published in Venice by Bartolomeo Magni in 1632, although pieces from other publications, such as the Arie di diversi raccolte of Vincenti (1634) and the Quarto scherzo delle ariose vaghezze of Milanuzzi (1624) are also included. By way of contrast, the finishing touch is provided by a dazzling and moving rendition of the Lamento di Arianna in an arrangement by Cavina himself, wherein the voice of Emanuela Galli, the star for the whole disc, is draped in a string ensemble led by Svetlana Fomina.
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