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Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Like volume 11 in this Adrian Willaert series from the Italian label Stradivarius, this present volume 12 has been around for quite a while. But again, it deserves belated recognition because it too is a lovely recording of splendid music. The previous volume (Willaert: Vespro della beata Vergine) brought us a fine example of Willaert's pioneering work in the course of his brilliant 35-year career as Maestro di Cappella of St. Mark's in Venice. The present Vespro di Natale collection is a later work (1555), and takes musical style still further down the road towards Monteverdi. It consists of a sequence of motets, some based on the usual Vespers texts and others more specific to the Christmas story, and it ends with a Magnificat.
The programme is very much in the style of a reconstructed Vespers service in Venice, although actually recorded in the very fine acoustic of the church of San Briccio di Lavagno in Verona. It's performed by the Italian early music ensemble Delitiae Musicae, directed by Marco Longhini, and these are joined by a choir of boy and girl trebles, I Piccoli Musici. The performance is meticulously authentic, beautifully stylish and committed. The four male solo voices are all excellent, and the treble choir do a simply brilliant job throughout the work; voices are often doubled by instruments - viols, trombones, organ, harp - and with a cornetto, played by Ian Harrison, weaving graceful embellishments at suitable points in a lovely clear tone.
The declamatory style of the motets is especially striking, taking us a long way from the polyphony of Willaert's renaissance Flanders and very much looking toward the later style of the Gabrielis and Monteverdi. Read more ›
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