This, the fullest edition of Monteverdi's letters, makes every known letter available in English translation. The 126 letters date from the last forty-two years of Monteverdi's career, giving an unrivalled picture of the life of a busy composer working in Mantua, Venice and Parma at one of the most exciting and crucial periods in the history of music. Besides correcting the numerous errors of transcription in previous editions, Professsor Stevens has taken special care in his translations to be faithful to the rhythms and the arched symmetry of Monteverdi's prose. The biographical and historical material he has brought to light is incorporated into the extensive commentaries which introduce each letter. The book as a whole is a magnificent scholarly achievement and an indispensable source of information for the composer's life and music.