This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
For those unfamiliar with the madrigals of d'India, they will come as a great revelation. This music is the equal of anything that Gesualdo wrote, and there are discernible echoes of Monteverdi.
This is one of the Consort of Musicke's most successful forays into Italian vocal music c. 1600. Despite their differences of personal idiom and style, there is a common language that links, for example, the madrigals of Monteverdi and Gesualdo, and the most difficult thing for any ensemble approaching this repertory is to acquire a convincing presentation of its essentially rhetorical character. It is not really a question of vocal technique, but rather of a detailed understanding, shared by all the performers, of the intimate
bonding of word and note, a consideration which in Monteverdi's case we know to have preoccupied him in composition throughout his career. This sense of the essence of the style does not come easily, particularly to those performers whose native language is not Italian; the Consort, whose early records of Italian repertory were not always successful in this respect, have on this new record reached a distinctive idiom which both convinces and excites.
For those who are unfamiliar with it the madrigals of Sigismondo d'India's Third Book will come as a great revelation. At its best this music is the equal of anything that Gesualdo wrote (and in their recourse to chromaticism, unexpected changes or juxtapositions of harmony and acerbic dissonances the two styles are recognizably strains of the same shoot), and while there are some weak pieces in the collection the general standard is high. In addition to the influence of Gesualdo, there are also discernible echoes here of the mature Marenzio and, above all, of Monteverdi (it is indicative that d'India sets a text taken from Act 3 of Orfeo, "Dove, ah dove ten'vai"). These pieces are full of surprises amid unexpected touches, but the results do not have that neurotic and ultimately unbalanced quality that characterize so many of Gesualdo's late madrigals; the truth of the matter is that d'India often has a better grasp of overall architecture.
The Consort present d'India's Third Book in a sequence of highly theatrical readings which manage to exploit a range of vocal gesture (portamentos, half-spoken sospiri, etc.) without descending into irritating mannerisms. And at a purely technical level d 'India's substantially homophonic style of writing is matched by a balanced vocal sound underpinned (essentially) by a firm but not tho obtrusive bass and, most impressively, a surefooted control of the tuning of these harmonically mischievous madrigals. But ultimately it is not these details that make this record such enjoyable listening, though they are pre-requisites, but rather the Consort's vivid projection of the progress of the musical and textual argument, the emotional ebb and flow of these largely amorous (and often thinly-veiled erotic) scenas, in all their detail. This fine musical achievement is wellmatched by a sensitive, immediate recording produced by Peter Wadland.
-- Gramophone [1/1988]
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