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For their second CD, The Gonzaga Band have constructed a vespers service out of settings by Italian baroque composers scored not as lavishly as those of Monteverdi or Cavalli, but for a more intimate forces of voices, cornetti and continuo. Soprano Faye Newton is heard to best effect in the quieter interludes of pieces such as Banchieri’s Magnificat, where she crafts and paces her phrases to perfection; whereas there are hints of straining when trying to blend with the cornetti, which slightly mar the beauty of such a distinctive voice. Clare Wilkinson is an ideal duetting partner, most impressively in Sances’s Ave maris stella, although the majority of her airtime is in plainchant. There is dazzling cornetto playing from Jamie Savan and Gawain Glenton, particularly in Crotti’s Sonata sopra Sancta Maria, and two intriguing Frescobaldi works, a bass canzon dispatched expertly on theorbo by Richard Sweeney, and an intricate Capriccio from Steven Devine.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica


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