, b) Act II, Orfeo: Vi ricorda
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 4 Tracks 7-8
The "fade-out" was not a Monteverdi device. It is a little unfortunate that this collection does not include the entirety of this canzonet. Though moments away from hearing the bad news, this is when we are able to see Orfeo feeling optimistic about the future and surrounded by friends. It is vital that the listener understands Orfeo to be the strong, talented person undeserving of calamity that we encounter with this tune. It is also important to understand that Monteverdi, Striggio and those at the premier were not interested in tragedy. This aria gives us a hint that, in this telling, Orfeo and Euridice will find a happy ending. Their brush with the underworld is, for them and us, an experience that enhances their happy love. As Orfeo explains, after grief one is the more content.
Orfeo proudly walks in front of the chorus with rhythms familiar to his audience. This music is intended to be contagious. Orfeo frequently steps aside to allow the listeners to place themselves in the orchestra. And his melodic lines move in a clear direction with assertive rhythm.
What I like about these melodic lines is when they descend in thirds. This happens at the end of each strophe. Because the rest of the tune either descends or ascends without detour, these roving flourishes provide that happy contrast that is the subject of Striggio's poem.
Also read Jane Glover on performing L'Orfeo