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Fanfare Magazine: 43:3 (01-02/2020) 
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Musica Ficta

Code-barres / Barcode : 5410939803125

Reviewer: J. F. Weber

Titled Donna, this mixed bag of secular and sacred music from a variety of the composer’s publications is described as “madrigals and motets for two female voices.” Pulchra es comes from the Vespro, Laudate Dominum and Salve Regina are taken from the Selva morale e spirituale, and five pieces are in the Madrigals, Book 7. O bone Jesu and Sancta Maria come from separate volumes of a seldom-cited Strassburg edition, Promptuarii Musici. Four items are drawn from other publications of 1621, 1624, and 1632. I looked in vain for a reason to include Giovanni Kapsberger, but he is not even mentioned in the notes. His two tablatures, inserted after the first three pieces, were published in 1640. Two singers and five players make up Il Festino, which has offered Baroque music on this label twice in the last few years.


The rationale for this collection is revealed in the subtitle’s reference to soprano Barbara Kusa and mezzo Dagmar Saskova, two singers unfamiliar to me who work well together. The program leads off with a winner, Zefiro torna (the duet of 1632, not the madrigal), as good a demonstration of the two vocalists as any. A couple of solos are divided between the two singers, Laudate Dominum and Ego flos campi. Since not a word is printed about the musicians, I had to search for them online past another group that uses the same name (this one is based in France, not England). This is their fourth CD on this label, two of them reviewed here (39:1, 41:1). They have also focused their attention on French and Spanish Baroque music.

A drawback, if it is one, is a program focused entirely on two soprano voices. It lacks variety, but it can be an advantage for those who want to hear these two fine singers. They are accomplished, and Grange is one of five players who accompany them, all playing modern copies of period instruments. This will find an audience for fine singing.

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