Musica Secreta - Dialogues with Heaven - Independent on Sunday

A quick glance at this CD might make you think of New Age slush. But, assuming that off-the-peg spirituality is not your bag, I have good news: the dialogues in question are altogether more sensuous, rigorous and thoughtful, and were written in the mid-17th century by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, a Milanese nun. Musica Secreta have done their fair share of the Three Ladies of Ferrara stuff, but recently they've devoted more time to explore 17th century music written by women, for women - a welcome counterpoint to the standard feminist emphasis on living female composers. The pearly voices of sopranos Deborah Roberts and Tessa Bonner, mezzo Catherine King and altos Mary Nichols and Catherine Trevor entwine deliciously over the (all male) continuo section. Even if your tastes normally incline to musical bubblebath, this ravishing music of restrained passion should win you over.

Independent on Sunday
04 June 2001