MARENZIO 9th Book of Madrigals for 5 Voices • Claudio Cavina, dir; La Venexiana • GLOSSA 80906 (62:35 Text and Translation)
This was originally reviewed by colleague Brian Robins (23:3), though fortunately I soon obtained a copy. Now it reappears in a digipack, but unlike most others, the longer dimension is vertical, so it must lie sideways on shelves like mine. The lavish booklet with four sets of translations is sorely missed this time around, though this time the texts are setRead more in a considerably larger font than before. This was the last of Luca Marenzio’s 23 books of madrigals and the ninth to be set for five voices. (As my colleague pointed out, “ninth book” and “five voices” are both necessary components of the title.) Marenzio’s style developed toward the end into large-scale works of serious content, the word taking precedence over lyrical flow of melody, the harmonies bold but not mannerist. It is as good an example of the composer’s mastery as any, a mastery that was recognized by those who followed in his pioneering ways but not, evidently, by record producers until recently, when this ensemble and others tackled his vast output in a systematic way. (Before this, he generally took a small place in broad surveys of the literature.) This remains one of the few major recordings of Marenzio’s madrigals, so it is good that it is available again.