1612 - Italian Vespers / I Fagiolini, Hollingworth 4783506
Here is a time capsule . . . Beautiful and powerful plainchant . . . [I Fagiolini] produces a rich, full and enthusiastic sound.
. . . the glories are [considerable] . . . Everywhere on this exciting disc we find bold voices atmospherically recorded, standing tall in towering blocks of sound or curling in polyphonic raptures . . . [these are] delights . . . [Hollingworth's "1612 Italian Vespers",] cleanly recorded, gets the spine tingling . . .
The sound is sumptuous, the performances by I Fagiolini utterly magnificent . . . a superb bass solo (Jonathan Sells), and the highlight is Hugh Keyte's reconstruction of Giovanni Gabrieli electrifying 28-part Magnificat . . . a sonic spectacular.
. . . [a] thrilling disc . . . A triumph!
These Italian Vespers are sung and played with I Fagiolini's typical vitality, freshness and immediacy . . .
As we might expect from this group, the best performances come in those pieces requiring spacious grandeur and a generalised awesome sound -- the works by Viadana particularly benefit here, as Gabrieli's famous "In ecclesiis" . . . There's fine soprano singing in "Laetatus sum" by Viadana, and a lovely cornett instrumental introduction to Barbarino's "Exaudi Deus".
This is a total winner . . . this one will [knock you off your seat] -- especially when the cannon start firing in the middle of the Magnificat.
Hollingworth's impeccable delivery of extra-special crunch moments provides plenty of points to knock your socks off, especially during Gabrieli's colossal "Magnificat" . . . A few moments caused me to raise my eyebrows in puzzled delight: a sudden interruption of cannon fire, pealing bells and military brass fanfare shocks like a veritable 1812 overture rather than a 1612 Vespers . . . one can only relish I Fagiolini's gutsy soloists -- none more so than the thrilling dialogue between high tenor Nicholas Mulroy and bass Greg Skidmore . . . I Fagiolini's "1612 Italian Vespers" is a thrillingly opulent special event of the sort very few early music ensembles achieve once in a career . . . Decca deserves kudos for promoting Hollingworth's laudable hunger to explore interesting repertoire of compelling quality that lies neglected apart from the attention of a few scholars . . . The glorious music and comprehensive booklet-notes on their own terms offer plenty of nutrition to the hungry listener . . . superlative quality of singing and playing . . .
. . . Hollingworth presents fascinating polychoral settings by Viadana, recorded for the first time . . . soprano Clare Wilkinson shows a sweet, supple sound in Viadana's "O dulcissima Maria," while Jonathan Sells deftly encompasses the virtuosity of range and flexibility in Monteverdi's motet for solo bass, "Ab aeterno ordinata sum." This is a sonic feast, and worthy repertoire.
Copious and scholarly notes mark the boundaries of this highly intelligent and wonderfully produced reconstruction of a 1612 Rosary Vespers . . . There are truly grand passages that use church bells and cannon fire (appropriate because of the battle theme), and some beautiful and subtle moments of transparency and clarity . . . this is a fine recording, and the Decca two-channel sound is clear, resonant, and given in great detail.
All the singers and players execute with loving precision . . . they blend in a satisfying whole . . . Intelligently conceived, neatly executed, this disc exemplifies the turn of the 17th century in an original way.
. . . [Die vorliegende Aufnahme] begeistert durch große Transparenz bis hin in die kleinsten musikalischen Verästelungen. Und durch große Klangsinnlichkeit.
. . . [Robert Hollingworth und I Fagiolini] beschwören erneut den Klangzauber der Epoche zwischen Hochrenaissance und Frühbarock -- mithin ein atemberaubendes Universum der Quadrofonie avant la lettre. Makellose Intonation, exquisite Klangmischung, glühende Intensität -- die britischen Vokalisten, sekundiert von hervorragenden Instrumentalisten lassen keine Wünsche offen und machen vergessen, dass diese Musik vierhundert Jahre alt ist.