This is Cinquecento's fourth disc since their formation in 2006, and in their short career so far I have become a big fan. Like the Brabant Ensemble, they are unearthing some little-known but very beautiful music from the 16th century, and this is another beauty.
Stephen Rice (director of the Brabant Ensemble) claims in his excellent notes that Vaet would undoubtedly have been among the best-known composers of the 16th century if he had not died young. Perhaps that's a slightly overblown claim, but he was a very fine composer and I thought his were the outstanding works on Cinquecento's disc of Music for the Court of Maximilian II Music for the Court of Maximilian II
. The music here is beautiful, dramatic in places and extremely skilfully constructed, and there is no doubt that Vaet deserves to be heard much more widely.
Cinquecento bring their characteristic empathy and beauty of sound to the music. An all-male ensemble, they sing in the Flemish tradition of lower pitch and record in a resonant acoustic which produces a fabulous, rich sound but never obscures the individual lines. Intonation is impeccable, the balance and blend of the voices is perfect, and they show a fine understanding of the relationship between music and text. I found the whole disc a huge pleasure, just as I have with all their previous discs. (Their recording of Regnart Regnart: Missa Super Oeniades Nymphae
is a particular favourite of mine.)
The recorded sound by Hyperion is excellent and the notes are interesting and informative. It's an excellent disc, recommended very warmly.