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This is an attractive programme of five-voice madrigals from the Sesto Libro de Madrigali (Venice, 1613) by Giovanni de Macque (1548- 1614) – from the last generation of Franco-Flemish composers – who was active in Naples in the service of the Prince of Venosa (the father of Gesualdo). The madrigals are sung by solo voices who privilege expression of the texts, but somewhat at the expense of tuning and blend. Organ ricercars, toccatas, canzonas and capriccios are played on an early 17th-century north Italian organ, including the two ‘stravaganti’ pieces that explore bold harmonies characteristic of Gesualdo’s madrigals – remarkably effective in mean-tone temperament.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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