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Devotional Chamber Music from the Age of Monteverdi

Spargite flores (Corradini). Venite sitientes ad aquas (Monteverdi). Pulchra es amica mea (Palestrina / Rognoni). Jesu mi dulcissime (Grandi). Partite sopra la Romanesca (attrib. Rossi). Nigra sum. Gaudeamus omnes (Merula). Toccata XII (Piccinini). O gloriosa Domina (Donati). Angelus ad pastores (de Rore / Bovicelli). Canzona 'La Bernardinia'. Canzona 'La Capriola'. Toccata I (Frescobaldi). Toccata (Picchi). Tulerunt Dominum (Benedetto Re). Toccata VII (Kapsperger). Congratulamini (Crotti)

Gonzaga Band (Faye Newton – soprano, Jamie Savan – cornett Richard Sweeney – theorbo, Steven Devine – organ & harpsicord)

Chandos early music CHAN 0761

A ravishingly beautiful disc, bringing into deserved notice some of the lesser known Italian composers of the 17 C. Jamie Savan's superb cornetto playing reminded me of my privileged presence - and amazement at its possibilities - at what might have been the first recording of a cornetto in its modern revival (Don Smithers Works by Grossi, Buonamente, Viviani et al. Argo LP ZRG 601, 1968).

Faye Newton sings with purity and lovely tone, supported by leading early music specialists, who interpose solo instrumental pieces and duets. Kapsberger's Toccata has Richard Sweeney's theorbo supported calmy by Steven Devine at the chamber organ and he also has harpsichord solos on one of Colin Booth's delectable instruments. Jamie Savan provides full information, including about his own still very special instrument, heard to great advantage here.

A CD to return to again and again. It was, serendipitously, received the morning after a fine programme of Italian opera music of the same time whcih broadened our awareness of other under-recognised composers of the time (Cesti, Marrazolli and Rossi - http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/liveevents09/EarlyOperaSpitalfields.html).

Peter Grahame Woolf