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Don’t let the restrained cover picture of the Virgin Mary and Jesus fool you: this is an earthy, thrilling recording of distinctly secular Italian madrigals and instrumental works. Johann Grabbe was a German composer based at the court of Lippe and, like his more famous contemporary Heinrich Schütz, was given both leave and financial support to travel to Italy in order to study with Giovanni Gabrieli. The bottom-heavy balance and foggy counter-tenor may begin to wear after a while; but this recording is a fascinating glass through which to view Schütz’s neglected ‘Primo Libro’ of madrigals, and the music is skilfully written and performed too.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing