Amorosi Pensieri

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COMPOSERS: De Monte,Guyot,Regnart,Vaet
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Amorosi Pensieri
WORKS: Songs for the Habsburg Court by De Monte, Guyot, Vaet & Regnart
PERFORMER: Cinquecento
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 68053

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For ten years now this accomplished and enterprising vocal group has been revealing the riches of the music performed at the Habsburg Court in the 16th century. Here we have four composers born in the Netherlands or nearby (Monte in Mechelen, Vaet in Kortrijk, Guyot in Liège and Regnart in Douai) who found their way to the court and brought with them an astonishing variety of styles and genres.

The most accomplished composer among them is Philippe de Monte whose mix of styles bears testimony to his well-travelled life. The immaculately written motet-like textures of Sortez Regretz bring out the best in the singers who give us clean textures and superb tuning. They are less at ease with his madrigal compositions – for example Con che soavità with its many references to kisses and tenderness really needs to be slightly more theatrical and impassioned. The Guyot pieces are competently performed but his slightly anonymous, over-fussy works are difficult to add contours to, though the singers make the most of the false harmonic relations in L’arbre d’amour. Cinquecento are most at home in the songs by Jacob Regnart – especially those with German texts. They give a beautiful performance of the little rustic ditty Ein Lieb, and they trip through Venus du und dein Kind delightfully. The sound recording is excellent, clear and focused, though perhaps very slightly dry.

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Anthony Pryer