COMPOSERS: Azzaiolo,Diego Ortiz,Francesco Patavino,Giovanni Domenico Da Nola,Giovanni Pacoloni,Lasso & Willaert,Sebastian Festa,Vincenzo Bell’haver
LABELS: Carlton Musick’s Monument
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Gentil Madonna
WORKS: Dillà de l’acqua; Girometta; Chi’nde darà la bose
PERFORMER: London Pro Musica
CATALOGUE NO: 30365 00082 DDD
In spite of the pious title and the holy picture on the cover, this disc is about as far from religion as you can get. Most of these works are bawdy songs and dances from 16th-century Naples and Venice: Nola’s ‘Medici nui siamo’ urges young maidens to do it while they have the time; Patavino’s ‘Dillà de l’acqua’ claims that he will have his desire soon; and Azzaiolo’s ‘Girometta’ laments that if his love does not do it now, then she never will.
What all this ribaldry requires is a sense of characterisation and self-parody, but only in Bell’Haver’s ‘Nu semo’ do the performers allow theatricality to take over from musical correctness, and then to great effect. There are other jokes here as well, such as the witty play on musical learning in ‘Chi’nde darà la bose’ – described as ‘anonymous’ on the cover, but actually by Andrea Gabrieli. The instrumental works are a great treat, especially the nimble playing in Pacoloni’s ‘Padoana della zoppa’.
Several of these works have been recorded before: in fact, substantial parts of the disc seem to be based on the repertoire and approach presented on a Musica Reservata record from 1971 (on Philips) on which the young Bernard Thomas played crumhorn. Nonetheless, these pieces make a fine concert. Anthony Pryer