Monteverdi Madrigals by Le Nuove Musiche at Nieuwe Kerk in Delft

The Nieuwe Kirk is in itself of important historic political significance as William of Orange was forced to move his family crypt from Utrecht to Delft. From that point on all Royals of the Netherlands have been buried here, including William.

A few years ago, before the enlarging of the Royal crypt, archeological digs were undertaken in the catacombs and the surrounding grounds where some two hundred skeletons were discovered.

The interior building itself is a rather sober affair, lacking much of the pomp and ornaments of French and English edifices. But due to this emptiness any sound, musical or otherwise, finds great acoustics here.

I chose to sit right in the center to benefit from this evening’s music to get the full surround sound offered by the ensembles of four voices and three accompanying instruments. The ensemble’s leader Krijn Koetsfeld was on clavichord with sopranos Jennifer van Hart and Wendy Roobol. The male singers were alto Tobias Segura Peralta, tenor Falco van Loon and bass Bas Ramselaar with Cassandra Luckhardt on viola da gamba.

Under the vast vaulted ceiling of the ancient church the voices rose beautifully, interweaving like ribbons in the rarefied air. Madrigals were secular poetry speaking of love, sad partings, longing or unrequited love, some were even operatic with the odd comic passages. So far so good.

The glossy programme booklet was beautifully produced, with the full Italian lyrics flanked by the Dutch translations. The latter were read out, in full for each piece, causing constant interruption to what I expected to be an evening of music, not a 50/50 song/speech event. Krijn Koetsveld also gave his best to relate additional snippets which entertained some in the audience.

The slow pace of the event reminded me of sitting in a college lecture theatre years ago, hoping the professor would come to the point. In short, I found it a shame that such fine singing and music was interrupted to such an extent.   Astrid Burchardt, 14th April 2024