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So the performers on this disc have had to make decisions about who sings or plays. What they have come up with is very successful. It helps that His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts play stunningly and blend beautifully with the voices. The cornett players on the disc (Jeremy West and David Staff) produce some ravishingly lovely tone.

The disc opens with one of the instrumental ricercars; each ricercar composed on one of the traditional church modes/tones (during the Renaissance each tone was thought to have its own expressive characteristics). A total of five of them are played on this disc.

This is followed by the motet De profundis clamavi from a collection printed in 1572. Here Joseph Cornwell and Adrian Peacock sing the third and fifth lines whilst the remaining four lines are instrumental, creating instrumental ritornelli around the vocal lines [listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:56]. This is also done with the communion motet O Sacrum Convivium, which is expressively sung by Anna Sara Pickard and an instrumental consort; with Pickard brilliantly adding ornaments to Gabrieli's top line [listen -- track 15, 0:00-1:31].

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Copyright © 23 December 2003 Robert Hugill, London UK


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