La Compagnia del Madrigale
Glossa GCD 922808
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The invocation of Hymen, god of marriage, in the title of one of these madrigals by Cipriano de Rore, which in turn provides the CD with its title, is indeed felicitous. These works, all from late or posthumous collections, demonstrate the clear marriage of text and music for which Cipriano was renowned in his lifetime and for some time thereafter. Monteverdi was a great admirer, and it is fascinating to hear how the latter master picked up the Cipriano baton and ran with it in his own madrigals. The singing of La Compagnia del Madrigale is generally stylish and engaging – just occasionally the voices do a little ‘settling in’ in the opening phrase of a piece, and (fortunately also only very occasionally) they do some of the newly fashionable expressive ‘drooping’ in pitch, by which I remain largely unconvinced. Mostly though, this CD is an unadulterated musical delight, and I found myself wondering at Cipriano’s sheer facility and confidence in this genre. In an excellent and comprehensive programme note, Marco Bizzarini puts each madrigal in its historical, cultural and political context. To provide variety, some of the madrigals are performed with a mixture of voices and instruments, an utterly convincing option which works beautifully here.
D. James Ross