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Claudio Monteverdi – Messa a quattro voci et salmi of 1650 vol.1 features seven psalm settings, a litany, and Cavalli’s Magnificat (the Mass will appear in vol.2) from the posthumously published manuscript of mature works, virtuoso sacred chamber music, from Monteverdi’s Venetian years. Singing this assured can, paradoxically, suggest too much safety, but there’s plenty of gripping emotion supported by uniformly excellent playing from the tiny band. Is this The Sixteen’s finest Monteverdi disc to date? More delightful still is Il pianto della Madonna, a feast of Monteverdi’s madrigals in spiritual contrafacta. La Compagnia del Madrigale are Italophone singers who breathe through every phrase an organic appreciation of text and music, moulding passionate performances that pulsate with devotional intensity, captured with warm and subtly reverberent recorded sound.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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