Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Vespro della Beata Vergine (Marian Vespers). Margaret Marshall (soprano), Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano), Philip Langridge (tenor), Kurt Equiluz (tenor), Thomas Hampson (baritone), Artur Korn (bass), Tölzer Knabenchor, Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle, Concentus musicus Wien; conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Recorded at the Baroque Cathedral of Graz, Austria, in 1986. Monteverdi contributed more to the music of his time than any other composer: he perfected the art of the madrigal, gave decisive impulses to the young genre of the opera by his imaginative use of descriptive and dramatic effects and by giving each figure an individual character, and introduced the expressive language of secular music into the rigid sacred music of his time. In his "Marian Vespers," composed in Mantua in 1610, Monteverdi combined elements from the traditional church music style with the new "stile concertato" and polychoral forms, but also boldly made use of Gregorian chant.