Having already released four discs for Hyperion featuring music from the 16th century Hapsburg Court, it makes sense for Cinquecento (Italian for 16th century), the six-member vocal ensemble made up of citizens from five European countries, to take on Adrian Willaert, one of the best and most honored international composers of his time. As before, Cinquecento does a magnificent job. The program is brilliantly chosen, including the motet Mente tota by the great Josquin Desprez; Willaert's Missa Mente tota, based on Desprez's motet; five other motets by Willaert; and the motet Concordes adhibete animos by Cipriano de Rore, a funeral tombeau to Willaert. The performances are models of musicianship and sensitivity; with their limpid balances, crystalline lines, beautifully shaded colors, and, of course, impeccable diction, intonation, and articulation, Cinquecento delivers readings of all the works that can stand comparison with the best recorded performances. Captured in ideal sound that places the performances in a sound space just the right size for the music, this disc will surely delight fans of Renaissance vocal music.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Missa Mente tota, 6vv|