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ReviewsDivine Theatre

‘Divine Theatre’ awarded the ‘Clef de ResMusica’

Jean-Baptiste de La Taille, ResMusica (15 February, 2017)

With this new release, Stile Antico features a figure well-known in the sixteenth century: Giaches de Wert, a Flemish composer roughly contemporary with Orlande de Lassus, who spent the most part of his career in Italy, at Mantua – notably in the service of the Gonzaga family, as master of music in the chapel of St Barbara at the ducal palace. He is renowned above all for his madrigals, and for his influence on Claudio Monteverdi.

His sacred music, three volumes of which were published in his lifetime, was rediscovered chiefly in the 1980s onward. Stile Antico has drawn from his two volumes of 1581 in creating this programming of motets from five to eight voices, which express sometimes joy, sometimes sorrow (the celebrated Vox in Rama). Yet again, the ensemble impresses through its cohesion, vocal colour, the freshness of its voices, the clarity and agility of the counterpoint, and its expressivity both in narrative passages and in dialogues, in a genre which can easily become monotone. The motes are also beautiful, with subtle dissonances, often constructed in imitation or inversion. Finally, the music is strikingly well fitted to its Latin text, mostly drawn from the New Testament

A highly recommendable release, preferable to previous discs of these motets on Kuntrapunkt (Bo Holten), Accent (Erik van Nevel) and Signum (Stephen Cleobury).