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Gombert: Motets

The quirkily named Beauty Farm draws its membership from a number of top continental ensembles and sounds beautifully blended with accurate intonation. If the recorded sound gave an initial impression of claustrophobia, by no means inappropriate for Gombert, I soon warmed to it.

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Praetorius

This is a fine recording of some little-known music. The Praetorius of the title is actually the trinity of Michael, of Dresden, and the unrelated Heironymus and his son Jacob, of Hamburg (the latter a first for me.)

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Purcell: Dido & Aeneas

‘Dido-on-Sea’? Or ‘Dido and Aeneas go to the Circus’? Whatever construct is put on this conception it will hardly be sufficient to convey just how bizarre it is. Where to start? Well, as is not uncommon in these benighted days, the stage directions are largely ignored.

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Vinci: Catone in Utica

First given in Rome at the Teatro delle Dame in January 1728, Catone in Utica was the first collaboration between Leonardo Vinci and Metastasio. In accordance with the Papal decree forbidding women on the Roman opera stage, it was given with an all-male cast, a format followed in this first recording, with countertenors taking the female parts.