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On Cipriano de Rore’s Quinto Libro di Madrigali:

Count Bardi (ca. 1580): Straining every fibre of his genius, he devoted himself to making the verse and the sounds of the words intelligible… this great man told me himself, in Venice, that this was the true manner of composing and a different one.

Alfred Einstein (1949): All madrigal music of the sixteenth century that lays claim to serious dignity is dependent upon Rore… his true spiritual successor was Monteverdi. Rore holds the key to the whole development of the Italian madrigal after 1550.

Anthony Rooley (1993): Here the attentive listener will find a music impassioned, yet serene; lofty, yet sensual; contemplative, yet engaging. A unique moment in European musical culture is captured in this posthumous collection of one of the most revered composers of his time. Here we discover the perfect balance between northern intellectual polyphonic architecture, and southern lyricism and sensuality.

Cipriano de Rore died in 1565, at the age of 49, in the Italian city of Parma. In the following year Il Quinto Libro di Madrigali for five voices was published by the printer Gardane as a tribute and memorial to Rore. Gardane enthuses about the madrigals and states that Rore’s work is a distillation of the polyphonic tradition of Josquin, Mouton and Willaert. Undoubtedly this final dedication represents the consummation of Rore’s development, which continued to be admired and searchingly studied by Monteverdi’s generation. Thus, through Rore as transmitter, the first great classic age of vocal polyphony embodied in the music of Josquin inspired the continuing development of this tradition through Monteverdi to the middle years of the seventeenth century.

As expected, The Consort of Musicke offers an amazing performance of this extraordinary music. The clean, transparent, pure, expressive and emotional voices of these astonishing singers (the list of names is impressive: Kirkby, Tubb, Nichols, King, Agnew and Ewing!) This ecstatic collection of madrigals, one of the pinnacles of the Italian music of the Seicento, is admirably recreated in every detail, in every nuance of the texts and of the music.

Cipriano de Rore: Il Quinto Libro di Madrigali, 1568

  • The Consort of Musicke – director: Anthony Rooley

    Emma Kirkby, Evelyn Tubb, sopranos

    Mary Nichols, alto

    Andrew King, Paul Agnew, tenors

    Alan Ewing, bass

Additional informations

  • Total time total 56:17

    Booklet Liner notes by Anthony Rooley. Footnotes by José Carlos Cabello

    Recording Forde Abbey, Dorset (UK), 1991

    Engineering and digital editing Klaus-Dieter Harbusch, Georg Litzinger & Karin Massen (WDR)

    Artistic and executive production Klaus L Neumann (WDR)

    Source & Edition “Cipriano de Rore, Opera omnia”, ed. B Meier (CMM, 145)

    Series artistic producer Anthony Rooley

    Supervision of texts and translations Dr John Whenham, Avril Bardoni & José Carlos Cabello

    Executive production for this edition, design and booklet coordinator José Carlos Cabello

    Cover Antonio Moro, “Giovanni Battista di Castaldo” (ca. 1553), Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. All rights reserved.
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Da l’estrem’orizonte
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