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Based in the West Country, Peter Leech’s Harmonia Sacra (34 voices on the CD under review) offer an intelligently conceived programme of baroque music as might have been heard in the Papal Basilicas in Rome in the 18th century. There are familiar suspects among the composers – Alessandro Scarlatti, for example – but also many that are far less known: Bolis, Bai and Casali, for instance. Mostly the group sings unaccompanied, and sings extremely well. The voice parts (many of these works are in eight parts or for double chorus) are very evenly matched, which produces a uniformity of tone and blend, though occasionally intonation falters. From time to time the uniformity of tone works against them, creating a sameness to the music, which is a pity in a disc that shines a spotlight on a somewhat forgotten corner. Informative liner notes enhance the pleasure of exploring this repertoire.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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