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GRAMOPHONE (10 /2013)
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GCD 922802

Code-barres / Barcode: 8424562228023 (ID348)

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Appréciation d'ensemble / Overall evaluation :

Reviewer: David Vickers


New vocal group ... opens the first by Marenzio

Marenzio’s Primo libro di madrigali (1580) was dedicated to his employer Cardinal Luigi d’Este, the owner of his late uncle’s famous villa at Tivoli (subsequent books were dedicated to the cardinal’s Ferrarese relations, who were patrons of the poet Tasso; Marenzio also had connections to the Gonzagas in Mantua and the Medici in Florence). Time and again as I listened, my jaw dropped at both the quality of Marenzio’s cleverly varied five-voice music and the astonishing sonorities of La Compagnia del Madrigale’s beguiling performances: the melancholic erotic yearning of ‘Tirsi morir volea’ (a poem from Guarini’s Il pastor fido), the exquisite dissonances illustrating lost love in ‘Dolorosi martir, fieri tormenti’, the canonic imagery of a blissful dream gradually fading into consciousness in ‘Venuta era Madonna al mio languire’ and the polychoral echo effects in the concluding eight-voice dialogue ‘O tu che fra le selve occulti vivi’ all reveal why Dowland tried in vain to visit Rome so he could study with Marenzio. Appended bonus items include the Sestina ‘Mentre ti fui sì grato’, a cluster of madrigals created in 1582 by a collective of six composers called the ‘Musici di Roma’ (Marenzio, Nanino, Moscaglia, de Macque, Soriano and Zoilo), and a scholarly completion of Marenzio’s first-known composition (the partially preserved ‘Donna bella e crudel’). Hopefully these spectacularly gorgeous inaugural albums for Glossa will be followed by more explorations of this engrossing quality.
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