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Moving beyond Italian performers, I’ll start with a group founded in Rome but whose director relocated to the USA , recreating the ensemble with non-Italian personnel. Consortium Carissimi offer Eight Motets by their eponymous composer. Gorgeous music and excellent scholarship is entrusted to voices of uneven quality, but sinuously shaped phrasing partly atones for moments of poor ensemble and intonation. Still in the USA, sacred music in Rome is celebrated by Duke Vespers Ensemble in Viva Italia!, an original programme exploring the repertoire of the Collegio Germanico with works by Carissimi, Palestrina, Victoria, Giovanni Felice Sances (the premiere recording of his Missa Sancta Maria Magdalenae), and Charpentier. The raw edges of the choir are smoothed by distance, and excellent soloists and persuasive interpretations raise their game. The Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble is a majestic presence in the Mass. From Luxembourg, Ensemble de la Chapelle Saint-Marc and CantoLX offer exquisitely characterised, emotional, and committed singing and playing for Luigi Rossi’s Oratorio per la Settimana Sancta , in a recording of glorious clarity. A text featuring Pilate, the crowd, demons, and the Blessed Virgin Mary evokes Roman religious tastes of the 1640s.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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