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Now for secular chamber music: representative of the more adventurous new wave of early music bands, Ratas del Viejo Mundo (‘Old World rodents’) presents Ossesso, Italian madrigals of love and affliction. Theirs is a compelling soundworld combining four characterful voices with the lutes of Floris de Rycker, employing reinvention that revivifies, pushing at boundaries of performance practice in a programme ranging across 300 years from Jacopo da Bologna to Gesualdo, obsessing about obsession in this gloriously immediate, impressively lively recording set in indulgently cavernous church acoustics. More conventionally, Monteverdi Madrigals Book 9 showcases the six Italian male voices and seven instrumentalists of Delitiae Musicae, living up to their name in characterisation and story-telling. Depths of sympathy and understanding inform their approach to the text, from extreme tenderness to violent emotional outburst, using new editions by director Marco Longhini. This recording of well-balanced clarity is an admirable finale to their cycle of Monteverdi’s complete secular works.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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