Gesualdo: Sacrae Cantiones

The Marian Consort, Rory McCleery
60:55
Delphian DCD34176

From Emma Walsh’s exquisite opening phrase to Ave Regina caelorum  which seems to descend from heaven itself this CD is an absolute delight and a masterclass in one-to-a-part singing. Gesualdo’s Sacrae Cantiones  for five voices book 1 of 1603 contains some of his most sublime compositions, quirky and original in style but without the tortured harmonic progressions and off-the-wall phrases of some of his other compositions. The effortlessly polished singing of the Marian Consort makes them the ideal advocates of this repertoire, and their perfectly contoured and beautifully balanced ensemble sound is captured in crystal-clear quality by the Delphian engineers. Anybody who is in doubt about Gesualdo’s skill as a composer will be persuaded by these understated but perfect accounts, and at the same time will be impressed by the passion which the singers manage to invest in their performances without resorting to rawness or roughness of any kind. A complete delight.

D. James Ross