Biagio Marini: Madrigali et Symfonie, op. II

I Musicali Affetti, RossoPorpora
Tactus TC 591304

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]iagio Marini’s is one of those names most fans of 17th-century know, but only for a handful of chamber works. This recording of an entire publication (only now possible because the missing continuo part has been reconstructed) is extraordinarily rare, and this all the more welcome. Widely travelled and sought after, Marini’s vocal music (as the brief but informative notes tell us) accounts for by far the majority of his output. His opus II broadly alternates instrumental and vocal pieces. I find his music for more than one melody part vastly superior to that for solo voice or instrument. The duets for tenors stand out on this recording and would have been worthy companions for similar pieces by his boss in Venice, Monteverdi. For the most part, the singing is good to very good, sometimes (Track 7, Perché fuggi na’ salti, or Track 17, Deh non coglier più fiori, for example) much more than that – the soprano’s passaggi  and gorgie  are fabulous (it’s a pity the sleevenotes don’t identify individual singers to allow me to give full credit). The set also includes a DVD which has a short documentary on Marini and the history and contents of the publication with nice literary insight, as well as some musical extracts and demonstrations.

Brian Clark

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