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When you enter an Italian church and see a medieval fresco depicting a concerto piccolo of angelic instrumentalists, do not suppose that this represents authentic performance practice for humans – it is, rather, a vision of the cosmic symphony with which (mostly) unaccompanied human voices conjoined during their devotions. Today’s performers of medieval sacred material need some theological and liturgical context if they wish to be taken seriously, so I’m going to treat Il Codice di Guardiagrele from De Bon Parole as a bit of a laugh: a romp through a very interesting manuscript of Gregorian chant, sung by an excellent female schola, and largely two-part polyphony performed with entertaining verve and imagination on a gallimaufry of instruments.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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