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With this CD Barnaby Smith and Patrick Ayrton have brought to our attention a selection of Marcello’s magnum opus, his Estro poetico armonico (1724-26), psalm settings originally paraphrased in Italian which subsequently spread throughout Europe in translations. The English-language accounts recorded here for the first time were adapted by Charles Avison (the 18th-century musician from Newcastle, who also scored Scarlatti keyboard sonatas for strings) without losing any of their southern European colour or vitality. The results are wholly delightful and absorbing, and the intimate forces of Voces8 and Les Inventions are completely at home in this repertoire. The programme of an hour’s music includes a delightful instrumental Ciaconna and ends with a richly sonorous six-voice infinite triple canon.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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