The Early Music Collection
The Early Music Collection is a wide-ranging survey that traces the history of Western music from plainchant, the music of the Catholic Church, through polyphony, to the end of the 17th century. It includes leading ensembles and instrumentalists. Many of the individual albums have been critically lauded.
Recent years have brought a vast expansion in our understanding and knowledge of early music periods. There has been investigation into the repertoire and techniques of other ages, coupled with a movement that has favored the use of instruments and ways of playing them that are more or less authentic. Even where surviving historical instruments or modern reproductions of them are not used, the styles of performance have been influenced. Above all the myth of unending progress has been abandoned in favor of an evaluation of each period and type of music on its own terms. Early Music, in fact, has become a flourishing industry, stimulated by the remarkable growth in production and distribution of early music. For our present purposes we limit the term Early Music to cover a period ranging from plainchant to the end of the 17th century. The period that followed, the age of Bach and Handel and the great synthesis of the Late Baroque, is generally more familiar to listeners and is, in any case, another story.
Excerpts of select reviews from previously releases included in this set:
Gesualdo: Madrigals, Book 1 / Longhini, Delitiae Musicare
The nuances of dynamics and phrasing--not to mention the exceptional breath control and intonation--show an ensemble, like the music's composer, working at the highest artistic level.
Ockeghem: Requiem / Holten, Musica Ficta
The account of the Missa Prolationum is particularly rich-textured, and beautifully balanced: the Sanctus and Benedictus strikingly so. The Requiem is also superbly sung, if with the rough edges smoothed off. The Intemerata Dei Mater opens the programme. It is sung with considerable feeling and immediately shows the splendid inner blend commanded by this group.
– Penguin Guide
Monteverdi: Madrigals Book 5 / Longhini, Delitiae Musicae
The singing here is superb--characterful and expressive in a way that often happens when singers are working with their native language. The basses in particular put an impressively firm bottom on the ensemble, and the two countertenors never sound strained.
Release Date: June 14, 2019
Catalog Number: 8503297
Number of Discs: 30