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  A marvellous performance by the virtuoso singers of The Consort of Musicke, at their best, of this unrepeatable music. 

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 voices, full of expressiveness and emotion of these amazing singers (the list of the names is impressive: Kirkby, Tubb, Nichols, King, Agnew and Ewing!) recreate in an exact and admirable way every detail, every nuance of the texts and the music of this ecstatic collection of madrigals, one of the summits of Italian creation of the Seicento.

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 timetotal 56:17
  • Booklet in English, Spanish and French, with liner notes by Anthony Rooley and footnotes by José Carlos Cabello.
  • Recording Forde Abbey, Dorset (UK), 1991
  • Engineering and digital edition Klaus-Dieter Harbusch, Georg Litzinger & Karin Massen (WDR)
  • Musical producer Klaus L Neumann (WDR)
  • Executive producer Klaus L Neumann (WDR)
  • Series artistic producer Anthony Rooley
  • Texts supervision 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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