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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The latest album from the Les Basses Réunies ensemble takes us deep into the phantasmagorical world of the Trattado De Glosas (literally "Treatise Of The Glosses") published by Diego Ortiz, a unique testament of the instrumental music of the Spanish Renaissance mixing poetry, profundity, innovation and virtuosity. Published in Rome in 1553 in both Spanish and Italian, this treatise offers a series of variations for several instruments. In the second volume, recorded here in its entirety, we find a succession of Ricercares (a typical 16th century musical form based on a process of imitation) of rare melodic and rhythmic richness, whose roots lie in then-popular dance pieces such as passamezzo antico and passamezzo moderno, the Ruggiero, the folia and the romanesca. The performance of this second book alternates the two main musicians, Bruno Cocset and Guido Balestracci, who are joined by bass viols, organs, harpsichord and vihuela (Spanish baroque guitar). The Basses Réunies’ work of re-reading this repertoire is closely linked to organology, through the rediscovery of instruments which were lost and then recreated for the occasion. These restorations relied on the use of period paintings (in particular the works of Greco) and a collection of engravings representing musicians and rare instruments, which have often unfortunately survived to the present day in a rather pitiful state. The pioneering and visionary work of the instrumentalist, composer and theorist Diego Ortiz contains a foreshadowing of the art of "diminution" (ornamentation of a melody) that would go on to reign supreme over all Italian music of the Renaissance. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
What exactly is this “new path” (neuer Weg) that the infamous fortepianist Andreas Staier is inviting us on with this new album published as part of harmonia mundi’s vast Beethoven 2020-2027 project? All the works offered here were composed at the dawn of the 19th century by a young tempestuous composer who was conscious of his worth but also of his weakness as he began to feel the first effects of the deafness that would go on to take over his life. This recital is mind blowing from the first few beats of the thundering Sonata No. 16 in G major. With his crystalline, weightless fortepiano built by Mathias Müller around 1810, Staier seems to show us how much this frail instrument labours to show the full spectrum of the composer’s genius, boundary-breaking as it was at the time. The three sonatas and two series of variations that make up this programme were all published in 1802, at a time when Beethoven wanted to “start something new” at the turn of the century after the slew of revolutionary torment that had shaken Europe to its core. It was a new way of thinking for a composer who spoke with a more authoritative tone than his predecessors, in the “first person”. Andreas Staier is without a doubt one of the best possible performers to portray this new era of musical and artistic thinking that arose during a troubled time (the rise of Napoleon) when the clarity of language rivalised the closing off of individuality. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 7, 2020 | Decca

The first substantial survey of the Eton Choirbook’s treasures on record, newly remastered, compiled and reissued on CD for the first time. Copied out between 1490 and 1502, the Eton Choirbook is the most substantial extant source of English liturgical polyphony from the late 15th and very early 16th centuries. The architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner described the late-perpendicular style of buildings like the chapels of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, as a ‘union of practical, matter-of-fact spirit with a sense of mystery, and an almost oriental effusion of ornament’. What we contemplate in these buildings we may hear mirrored by the music of the Eton Choirbook. From the 1920s onwards attempts were made to perform and record pieces from the Eton Choirbook but they were hampered both by the technical demands of the music – often as thrilling as it is rhythmically complex and metrically unstable – and by its relative unfamiliarity to English cathedral choirs. Only in 1968 was a successful attempt madeby Argo to record a selection on two albums, which are united here. The performers constituted an astute combination of an all-male choral foundation (from St Margaret Street in London) with the professional ensemble of the Purcell Consort of Voices, directed by their founder Grayston Burgess, who died in 2019. The first album documented the setting of the St Matthew Passion by Richard Davy and the second included a selection of motets (the Ave Maria of Cornysh and Nesciens Mater of Lambe) and spacious, most notably Browne’s Stabat Mater and Fawkner’s Gaude Rosa. The singing is robust rather than ethereal, and the albums blazed a trail both for this repertoire and style of performance which has been emulated by many professional early-music groups during the past half-century. Filling out this 2CD set is a third Purcell Consort of Voices album of 15th-century repertoire recorded by Argo and never previously issued complete on CD. The flowing polyphonic style of John Dunstable and the sublime reach of Josquin des Prez are surveyed with both sacred and secular, instrumental and vocal works; highlights include the courtly elegance of Dunstable’s O Rosa Bella and Josquin’s affecting tribute to his teacher in the Déploration sur la Mort de Okeghem. (© Decca / Universal Music Australia)
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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Do you know Albert de Rippe or Alberto da Ripa, Alberto da Mantova, or indeed Alberto Mantovano? Thanks to the new album from lutenist Paul O'Dette recorded in Quebec in 2016, we have become acquainted with one of the most important lute players and composers of the Renaissance. Born around 1500 in Mantua or in... Ripa (currently Riva di Suzzara), at a very young age he entered the service of the King of France François I, along with a number of other Italian artists including Leonardo da Vinci. The King granted him lands in the Dombes and sums of money besides. This royal recognition is surely testament to the exceptional quality of the work of the Italian composer, who had written many "fantasies", but also arrangements for songs which were then in vogue, and several dances. Rippe also probably refused to have his works be published, preferring to keep them for himself: so they have survived to the present day only through copies made by his student Guilliaume Morlaye. Rippe's music is richly expressive and rounded off by a very accomplished writing technique, which produces rich and full sounds. Not content with 3-note chords, as most of his contemporaries were, Rippe explores his instrument with rich harmonic combinations of 5 or 6 notes, to imitate the luxuriant sound of a large choir. A passionate fan of Rippe's music, Paul O'Dette wanted to present the widest possible range from the repertoire of those times, ending his record with a stunning piece, La Séraphine. The identity of the writer isn't known precisely, but there are good reasons to believe that it is the master himself. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 18, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
The Second Book of Madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo provides the focal point for the latest in La Compagnia del Madrigale’s stunning reappraisals of the glories of the Italian madrigal on Glossa. Probably written by Gesualdo between the time of the double honour killing of his first wife and her lover and his subsequent remarriage, the second book presents a sophisticated compositional mastery quite in keeping with the later books, albeit offering a calmer and gentler approach compared to the more tortured and twisted musical and psychological turns found in the last books. Notwithstanding, much is required from the singers on the Secondo libro di madrigali a cinque voci and La Compagnia del Madrigale bring their muchpraised sensitivity to the text, balance of ensemble and dynamic control. In the booklet, both Marco Bizzarini and Giuseppe Maletto investigate the state of mind of this fascinating composer, over four centuries since his death. The substantial second part to this recording offers a set of contrasts with Book 2: nine tracks devoted to madrigalists inspired by Gesualdo’s style, from contemporaries in Nenna, Macque and Palazzotto Tagliavia to the later Sigismondo d’India. A veritable bonus! © Glossa
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released September 20, 2019 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Cyprien de Rore is one of the most important representatives of Franco-Flemish musicians. Spread out across all of Europe, these musicians originating in Flanders deepened their knowledge of composition in Italy, where they took up residence in courts. After Josquin des Prés, Rore officiated at the court of the Duke of Ferrara. Later, in Venice, he followed Adrian Willaert as the Master of the Chapel of the Basilica of Saint Mark. This album brings together the mass dedicated to his protector, Ercole II d’Este (Missa vivat felix Hercules secundus) with some motets. So this programme, performed by the Weser-Renaissance choir and conducted by Manfred Cordes, is entirely in Latin. Rore's counterpoint ploughs the furrow of the prima pratica, while the care taken over the text and its harmonic language point towards the "new music" or seconda pratica. Standing at the crossroads of these two styles, Cyprien de Rore has mixed the ordinario of the mass with secular texts, creating a musical unity  – following the example set by Josquin, himself the author of a mass in honour of a Duke of Ferrara, Ercole I. A soggetto cavato provides a bridge: the vowels of the text ("Hercules dux Ferrariae") correspond to the notes (D, C, D, C, D, F, E, D), forming a melodic motif. As for the recorded motets, they were recovered in a magnificent manuscript which was kept in the Library of Bavaria. In fact, Rore was famous in the Munich court, where he went in person to copy his motets into the codex. Polyphonic gems, these pieces blossom with great lucidity. Manfred Cordes and the Bremen Weser-Renaissance ensemble clearly know their stuff: the record is simply magnificent. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 19, 2019 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released September 15, 2019 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released June 21, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
A composer admired by his contemporaries, Josquin Desprez (ca 1450-1521) was a solitary artist who sublimated in his chansons the melancholy character and the elegance emblematic of the Renaissance. For their first recording, Dulces Exuviae explore the intimacy of these chansons in a fresh light: the sweet melodies are embellished by ornaments and accompanied on the lute, leaving ample room for improvisation, and thus allowing music to come out all the more alive, delicate and filled with emotion. © Ricercar
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Classical - Released June 7, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or
‘The senses reign, and Reason now is dead’ (Petrarch). Giovanni Antonini, flautist and founder of the legendary Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, enjoys musical voyages, the discursiveness of music. He begins with an anonymous 16th century pavane, La Morte della Ragione ("The Death of Reason"), which he believes refers to In Praise of Folly, in which its author Erasmus distinguishes between two forms of madness: ‘a sweet illusion of the spirit', and a negative form, ‘one that the vengeful Furies conjure up from hell...’. This succession of ‘musical pictures’ leads us to the threshold of the baroque era, starting out with the Puzzle Canon by John Dunstable (1390- ca.1453), whose manuscript is an enigma, via the ‘bizarre’ style of Alexander Agricola (1446- ca.1506) and his obsessive, ostinato rhythm – almost an anticipation of minimalist music… to the improvisatory freedom of the Galliard Battaglia de Scheidt (1587-1654), a battle piece involving a great many diminutions or ‘divisions’, a common technique of improvisation in the Renaissance... This grand instrumental musical fresco of time and space is a kind of self-portrait of Giovanni Antonini and his longstanding musical colleagues. To accompany this recording, a richly-illustrated booklet presents a free-ranging iconographical tour combining pictures and contemporary photos. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released May 3, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Popular madrigals and chansons of the 16th century served as models for richly embellished “alla bastarda” versions on the viola da gamba. In this recording, the vocal originals are presented together with the extremely virtuoso instrumental versions which represent the first and hardly surpassed apex of solo literature for viola da gamba. For 25 years, Paolo Pandolfo has been one of the leading viola da gambists of his generation, researching and promoting the repertoire of his instruments in all directions. The thorough knowledge of all aspects of the viola da gamba repertoire becomes clear in his extensive discography. Not only has he recorded the most important works of the viol literature, but also very personal musical statements in which he combined the youthful experiences as a double bass player and guitarist with compositions and improvisations that are just as influenced by jazz as they are by the historical repertoire. With the “bastarda” diminutions, he now proffers an early milestone of the solo viol literature in which the exuberant virtuosity serves to present enchantingly beautiful music. On this very special project, with instruments built ad hoc, he is joined by some of the finest continuo players of the early music scene (Boysen, Granata, Chemin, Pedrini) and the exquisite vocal ensemble La Pedrina, together producing what definitely will be considered as a key recording of repertoire for the viola da gamba. © Glossa
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Classical - Released April 12, 2019 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Innovative music printer Pierre Attaingnant (c.1494-1551) published the first editions of keyboard music ever to appear in France in 1531 (Tracks 1-30). Only one copy of each of these seven tiny but crucially important volumes has survived, in which anonymous composers made arrangements of some of the most beautiful chansons, motets and dances from the reign of François I. Some pieces follow (Tracks 31-38), which are also from the 16th century French keyboard repertoire but not from the Attaingnant edition. All this keyboard music shows France at the forefront of developments in this field. Glen Wilson has corrected the countless errors in these original sources, restoring this rare and enchanting music and allowing it to shine in its original glory. © Naxos / Qobuz
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released April 5, 2019 | Fra Bernardo

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released March 21, 2019 | Coviello Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 15, 2019 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 25, 2019 | Paraty

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 11, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The regime of Queen Elizabeth I dealt harshly with supporters of the old Catholic religion. Torn between obedience and conscience, some of England’s most talented musicians – Philips, Dering and Dowland – chose a life of exile abroad. Others chose to remain in spiritual isolation in England, comparing themselves to the exiled Israelites in Babylon. Amongst them were Robert White, whose five-part Lamentations are one of the glories of English music of any age, and William Byrd, whose anguished Catholic music is referenced in Shakespeare’s enigmatic poem The Phoenix and the Turtle, vividly set by Huw Watkins especially for stile antico. © harmonia mundi
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Secular Vocal Music - Released January 4, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
With Vieni, dolce Imeneo, La Compagnia del Madrigale make another important halt on their compelling journey across the territory of Italian secular song with a disc devoted to one of the most significant, yet these days somewhat bypassed, composers: Cipriano de Rore. De Rore was a Fleming who enjoyed great success notably in the Italian courts of Ferrara and Parma – but with a prestige which extended up and across Europe. He composed in many genres, but it is the secular madrigal – recorded here – where his skill was most valued, for example in creating extended and expressive melodic lines coupled with innovatory pre-echoes of the “seconda pratica” so triumphantly expressed – albeit amidst great criticism – by Claudio Monteverdi. Recordings – all also on Glossa – of madrigals by Marenzio, Gesualdo and Monteverdi have already demonstrated musical pleasures such as an uncommon vocal blend and delicacy, and a meticulous dynamic control exhibited by the richly experienced members of La Compagnia del Madrigale, and those delights are to be experienced with these 19 madrigals by Cipriano de Rore, composed late in his career. With texts by Petrarch, Ariosto and assorted court poets for these madrigals, essay-writer Marco Bizzarini highlights one of the principal characteristic features of de Rore’s mastery when he points to the disc’s title track, Vieni, dolce Imeneo: the ideal union between poetry and music. © Glossa