Over the years Glossa has been at the forefront of releasing recordings of late Renaissance madrigals, and the label has had the pleasure of assisting superlative artists in doing so: none more so than the voices of La Venexiana and its director Claudio Cavina. A reflection of such creative richness comes through now in a special limited-edition nine-CD box set, entitled L’arte del madrigale. The recordings date from the dozen years after La Venexiana’s foundation in 1996, a time of great activity for the ensemble, and which complements the Monteverdi Complete Madrigals Books set, released a year or two back. These two impressive box sets demonstrate very effectively why La Venexiana has been so popular with audiences and why it has been fêted by critics also. It is remarkable to have such musical and expressive guides – and with such interpretative consistency – to take one now through the potent thirty year-period in the development of the Italian madrigal from 1586 onwards; a time when the madrigal reached its zenith. Within the nonet of recordings in L’arte del madrigale are to be found complete books of madrigals from composers who reflected the greater textual expressivity of the new seconda prattica – Luzzaschi, Wert and Marenzio – along with the Neapolitan freedoms demonstrated by Gesualdo and D’India. The new box set contains all the booklets for the original recordings (as PDF files) as well as a new essay written by Stefano Russomanno.
CD1 also contains pdf-files of the complete original booklets.