This is great. Hitherto Cinquecento—that marvellous male voice sextet in Vienna who have sung a 16th-century Mass almost every Sunday morning in the Rochuskirche for almost 10 years, alongside gorgeous chant-singing—have mainly recorded sacred music. But they are no less persuasive in the song repertory. It’s not just that their ensemble and tuning are flawless, nor that with six highly individual voices they can create an amazing range of colours, but that with their multicultural forces they can fit effortlessly into the style of the music, whether the texts are in Italian, French or German.
As in most of their previous records, they have chosen Viennese repertory—or rather, in this case, music by composers from the Low Countries who had major positions at the Imperial Chapel in Vienna. Monte and Regnart were unbelievably prolific: if we are miles from having either of them in complete modern editions, that is absolutely not because the music is in any sense feeble, as you can hear on this record. I am not aware that any of the 25 short pieces here has been recorded before: Monte (by far the most prolific madrigalist of all time) has here eight masterful pieces; Jean Guyot (so far as I can see, never previously recorded) has six charmingly gooey pieces in the manner of Gombert on speed; for the sovereign (and also prolific) Vaet we hear the only non-Latin pieces he composed, all three of them; and the record ends with a mouth-watering selection of songs in German and Italian by the more light-hearted Regnart. Don’t miss it.