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Jeffrey Skidmore’s journeys through South America find him in Brazil to discover a varied selection of music. ‘This recording is an introduc- tion to early music from colonial Brazil,’ he writes in the liner booklet. Leaving the best until last, the CD ends with the gloriously exciting Missa a 8 vozes e instrumentos by André da Silva Gomes, bursting with joie de vivre and inspired scoring. The contrasted movements of the Mass show far more invention than the other major work on the disc, José Maurício Nunes Garcia’s lyrically sentimental Missa pastoral para a noite di natal, though Ex Cathedra breathe life into it very skilfully. The earliest piece of surviving Brazilian polyphony is the anonymous Matais de incêndios, rhythmically exciting with its guitar and percussion accompaniment; there is much to enjoy here. Among these impressive performances, the beautiful soprano voice of Elizabeth Drury stands out.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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