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The Gonzaga Band was formed by cornettist Jamie Savan in 1997, in order to explore historical approaches to the performance of vocal and instrumental music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its line-up is flexible: the musicians heard on this recording – Steven Devine, Richard Sweeney and Faye Newton besides Jamie Savan himself – form the nucleus of the group, which expands on occasion to include other leading vocal and period-instrument specialists according to the specific requirements of each programme. Jamie Savan commented on the recording, ‘Catherine Bott once described our blend of cornett and voice as that of “two soprano instruments” matched “in dazzling duet”. We hope our recording will live up to this high praise.’
The ensemble takes its name from the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua, who were powerful and influential patrons of the arts in the late Renaissance period. The Gonzaga family employed Claudio Monteverdi as their maestro di cappella, and he presided over a musical establishment that was, for a time, the envy of the world.
For this collection The Gonzaga Band has chosen some of the most beautiful music from the dawn of the baroque era in Italy. Some of the composers, such as Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Merula and Grandi, are well known today. Others, such as Nicolò Corradini, Benedetto Re and Archangelo Crotti, are minor masters whose music has been unjustly forgotten.
All the composers represented on this disc share a gift for writing accessible, tuneful music for solo voice with obbligato instruments. The challenge is for the instrumentalist to play as vocally as possible, whilst the singer needs an instrumentalist’s technique to negotiate the virtuosic demands of this repertoire. The Gonzaga Band successfully meets this challenge in Sacred Garland.
Nicolo Corradini: Spargite flores
Claudio Monteverdi: Venite sitientes ad aquas
Venite sitientes ad aquas
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Pulchra es amica
Pulchra es amica mea
Alessandro Grandi: Jesu, mi dulcissime
Jesu, mi dulcissime
Michelangelo Rossi: Toccate e correnti
Toccate e correnti: Partite sopra la Romanesca
Tarquinio Merula: Motetti e sonate concertati, Book 1, Op. 6
Motetti e sonate concertati, Book 1, Op. 6: Nigra sum
Alessandro Piccinini: Intavolatura di Liuto, et di Chitarrone, Book 1
Intavolatura di Liuto, et di Chitarrone, Book 1: Toccata No. 12
Ignazio Donati: O gloriosa Domina
O gloriosa Domina
Giovanni Battista Bovicelli: Angelus ad pastores
Angelus ad pastores
Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi: Canzona La Bernardinia
Canzona, "La Bernardinia"
Giovanni Picchi: Toccata
Benedetto Re: Tulerunt Dominum
Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi: Canzona, "La Capriola"
Canzona, "La Capriola"
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger: Libro I d'intavolatura di lauto
Libro I d'intavolatura di lauto: Toccata No. 7
Archangelo Crotti: Congratulamini
Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi: Il secondo libro di toccate, canzone, versi d'hinni, Magnificat, gagliarde, correnti
Il secondo libro di toccate, canzone, versi d'hinni, Magnificat, gagliarde, correnti: Toccata No. 1
Tarquinio Merula: Gaudeamus omnes
“Faultless and fascinating - must-have music by Monteverdi's contemporaries. Faye Newton sings delightfully, and the players - especially Savan on the cornett - are impossible to fault. Great stuff.”
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