This wonderful disc contains a range of madrigals from very small scaled works to some of the very largest Andrea Gabrieli ever wrote (only 'Ecce Vinegia Bella' à 12 voci and 'Cantiam de Dio', also à 12 - in three choirs, are missing from this collection - maybe these works (along with some more madrigals of Giovanni Gabrieli) will appear on a follow up recording?? ;-))
I Fagiolini sing with pathos, passion, style, grace, fun and grit, when needed. The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble also makes very bold, impressive and colourful noises, too!
The whole thing is quite wonderful and it is clear to me that Andrea Gabrieli is a very worthy composer and I hope that these groups join together again and record more of this marvellous repertoire. Gabrieli wrote a large number of madrigals, possibly more than Monteverdi, and, judging from this recording, they are very fine and expressive pieces of music. Listen to the large madrigal - "O passi sparsi" - on this recording, which is done as a duet for countertenor (Robin Blaze) and high tenor (Nicholas Mulroy) voices with the full forces of the EC&SE (and transposed down a major 4th to make the two top lines of each choir fit the voices and instruments). This piece is almost operatic in its expressiveness. It makes me wonder what Andrea Gabrieli would have composed if he had lived on into the time of Monteverdi and the birth of opera - perhaps he would have given the young Claudio a run for his money?
Nonetheless, works like "O passi sparsi" demonstrate Gabrieli's skill at work painting and creating music of deep feelings.
Well done to you, Mr. Hollingworth, and your team.