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on 14 June 2012
Firstly I have to declare an interest. This was recorded in St John's, Upper Norwood near Crystal Place in London and not some Italian Cathedral but we are firmly of the High Church, Anglo-Catholic tradition and the bell at the start of the first track is screwed to the wall outside the vestry and rung at the beginning of every mass so absolutely authentic. We have a strong musical tradition and the building seems to impart a certain magic which my choir are lucky enough to experience week by week, but which is gradually being discovered by others making recordings. The recent Florilegium CD of Vivaldi works was recorded here and I Flagiolini's work similarly benefits from a resonance and clarity often lacking in larger cathedrals.

Robert Hollingworth rarely seems to take the easy options and whilst you will find the usual suspects in Gabrieli and Monteverdi, there is also a revelation in Ludovico Viadana. He will be familiar to many church choirs as being the composer of the Missa L'hora Passa but his works here are more than on a par with the aforementioned masters of polyphony. Speaking of Gabrieli, the Magnificat is a reconstruction of a work for seven choirs - 28 parts vocal and instrumental including bells and a cannon!

This is an excellent recording that reveals new dimensions with each hearing. The programme is well chosen and has a variety of musical textures (plainsong, chamber organ, instrumental and choral works) to transport you back in time. Hollingworth avoids the temptation to simply create endless walls of vocal sound (initially impressive but tiring after a while) by creating each choir as a mixture of vocalists and instruments and also by varying the composition of the instrumental groups. It's a great achievement and the microsite -[...] is well worth a visit for more information.

If you bought the previous Striggio CD, you'll have an idea of what to expect but this is far superior in my view. If you like early music and period instruments, you'll definitely need this in your collection.
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on 10 June 2012
Last year, Robert Hollingworth and I Fagiolini caused a sensation with their recording of Striggio's 40 part motet and mass, which not only appeared in the general best seller charts, but also won a number of international awards. Now he follows it with more large scale 17th century works, unfamiliar to me and,I suspect, many others. Once again we experience the full " wall of sound" in a stunning recording, including some previously unrecorded works. Everyone I have played this to, from professional church musicians to my heavy-metal-loving son, has been blown away, and very moved, by this. If you are hesitating about trying something unfamiliar, don't! Give it a try; you'll love it!
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on 10 December 2012
Coming after the wonderful Striggio 40 part mass, expectations were high. The Italian Vespers did not disappoint. Ranging from sheer beauty to noisy battle scenes one was immersed in a range of emotions. Had the opportunity to enjoy snippets of this CD programme at the 2012 Proms and I Fagiolini continue to push the boundaries in well researched historical performance - as well as cutting edge new productions.
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on 10 June 2012
Whether you just want to lie back and bathe in the gorgeous sound - after all the English are supposed to like the sound music makes! - or you want to thrill at the intricacy and sheer genius of the multi-part writing, or enjoy the great crafstmanship of all the singers and musicians, this is a must-have recording. The last I Fagiolini disk was stunning, and justly won a Gramophone award. This is so much better - in this Jubilee year, Robert Hollingworth deserves a knighthood for services to this wonderful music. Buy now, all ye people, and enjoy every minute.
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on 27 January 2013
This is a delightful recording to listen to. It's good to hear the chants that precede the main items, putting the works in context. i Fagiolini have a knack of making this repertoire sound not only serene, but fresh and engaging.
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on 29 June 2012
As in most of my reviews, I urge you to take the time to listen, to appreciate and to bathe in the enjoyment of a fine recording. The effort engaged in producing such a wonderful recording really has to be marvelled at. This, again, is not for supermarket trolley pushers, but for people who are prepared to make the effort to involve themselves in not just how, but why a recording was made. Read the notes, check out the website, listen to your new CD, and then make the arrangements to go to a concert and live the music. This recording was provided by and can be found on their website at the right price.
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on 26 February 2016
This is a truly magical disc of vespermusic from Monteverdi's time by I Fagiolini, containing the usual 5 Latin psalms (Dixit Dominus, Laetatus sum etc.) and antiphons as well as a magnificat and some smaller pieces. Vocal groupings within the pieces are varied and the voices blend well, producing an at times entrancing sound together with the very capable instrumentalists. Full texts and translations as well as a useful essay with links to a minisite are provided. All in all a great experience which I cannot recommend too highly.
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on 29 June 2014
Interesting, but less than gripping. I'd hoped for something as overwhelming as the Striggio from the same source, but was still waiting at the end for even a moment of that quality. But, on the other hand, not bad, and I did learn.
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on 28 December 2012
At the time of writing I have yet to receive the CD from Amazon, but as a dedicated I Fagiolini devotee, and having heard excerpts of this already, there is no doubt in my mind that this is another choice and outstanding offering coming after the Striggio Mass in 40 Parts which, for me, set something of a benchmark: which under Robert Hollingworth's superb direction, I am sure they will live up to if not exceed expectations.
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on 12 July 2012
After I Fagiolini's world-beating Striggio CD last year, it was difficult to imagine how they could repeat the winning formula - but they have. Buy this disc and experience the best in the business performing the music they all love so much ... and it shows!
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