Music: Revolutionary Revived

For a composer who got a first New York performance of some of his music last week, Claudio Monteverdi goes a long way back. While he was composing his Vespers and Magnificat, Rome's St. Peter's Cathedral was still abuilding, Shakespeare was writing his Winter's Tale, Galileo was pondering the mysteries of the stars in their courses, Rembrandt and John Milton were toddling infants, and New York City—the year was 1610 —had not yet been thought of.

Composer Monteverdi's Vespers and Magnificat, which includes ten of his 70-odd sacred works, begins with a stately blaring of trumpets and trombones, suddenly quiets to let...

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