Here is everything you would expect to find on a very good 1970s-era recording of English madrigals. First, the music--you could call this program of 22 pieces a "greatest hits" of madrigal repertoire (with a few rarer selections added); then the singers--a small, select, very earnest group of some of England's finest; and finally, the sound--close, yet in this excellent remastering by Mark Brown fairly vibrant and clear if a bit on the bright side. There is nothing here to criticize; your level of enjoyment will largely be determined by your taste for a particular singing style and ensemble sound. Here is an ensemble that's technically very tight and polished but in which the individual voices effectively operate as soloists,Read more their very distinct timbres emphasized by the one-to-a-part format. The result, also owing to the close perspective and a generally emphatic singing style, is a very prominent soprano (three different ones are used) that can wear a little hard on the ear after awhile. Nevertheless, this is really fine singing, energetic, clearly articulated, and conveying an obvious enthusiasm for the music. I would have liked a more carefully blended ensemble and perhaps even more contrast in mood between the livelier, happier pieces and the more melancholy ones. But again, that's a personal thing that takes nothing away from a strong recommendation for this reissue from 1979, which many fans of this group and its revered director will heartily welcome.
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