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Monteverdi’s stile antico Masses are far from Palestrina, and directors have tempting interpretational options: Federico Bardazzi uses his choral and instrumental forces with imagination supported by scholarship in Easter Celebration at St Mark’s in Venice 1600 – a liturgical sequence built around Monteverdi’s Mass for Four Voices (published 1640) with works by Giovanni Gabrieli recorded with surprising spatial effects. Convincing, colourful instrumental contributions within the Mass fascinate, provoke and delight by turns. Odhecaton choose not to push the boat out that far with the Mass for Four Voices (published 1650) sung with minimally present continuo, performed without interpolations alongside Marian works, contrasting old and new composing styles in Claudio Monteverdi in San Marco. A veiled quality to the recorded sound does not disguise interesting contrasts in the predominantly male voices, and a well-shaped if somewhat diffident approach comes alive in concertato works such as the Gloria à 7. Claudio Monteverdi Messa a quattro voci et salmi of 1650 features the same Mass framed by psalms, sung by The Sixteen in less acoustic bloom but greater drive. The Mass also features tastefully supportive continuo in an elegantly restrained, perfectly balanced approach.

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