Passion Players

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For Valentine's Day, The Choral Mix is offering some tantalizing treats to indulge in: passion-filled works by Brahms and Monteverdi.

While Monteverdi conjures up austere images of sacred music and spaces, he did have his steamy side, which we get to glean from his amorous -- some might even say erotic -- love madrigals. The text of Montiverdi's madrigals range from the joys and love of springtime in "Io mi son giovinetta", to a more somber take on love, and the pain it invariably causes, as in "Piagn'e Sospira."

If you were listening to The Choral Mix in the past couple of weeks, you may recall that Kent explored the differences between American and English choirs, so keeping the sporting spirit going, we will explore male and female choirs. Are women more passionate than men? Can you detect the power of testosterone in the male choirs? And what happens when you combine the two?

Among the ensembles featured this week include Delitiae Musicae, Musica Sacra, and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers.


1. Brahms/Musica Sacra, Richard Westenburg/NYC/tracks 1-4 4 Songs, Op.17

2. Monteverdi/Delitiae Musicae, Marco Longhini/Italy (Brescia?)/Monteverdi Madrigals Book 4

3. Brahms/Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Robert Shaw/American, recorded in France/Liebeslieder Waltzes, Evening Songs/tracks 1-18, Liebeslieder-Waltzer, Op.52

Weigh in: Are female choirs or male choirs any more passionate? Can you detect the power of testosterone in the male choirs? Leave a comment below: