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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Over the first half of the sixteenth century this Flemish composer was one of the key figures in Western music, instrumental in the development both of the madrigal and of church music fro double chorus. From 1527 until his death he was maestro di capella at St Mark’s in Venice, but this music dates mainly from his earlier years, when he achieved nine setting of the Mass. This splendid offering from Summerly and his Oxford Camerata is the only one available, a magnificent ‘parody mass’, using as its base a motet by Jean Richafort, a piece included here as a prelude. Willaert’s setting rises to a sublime conclusion in the extended Agnus Dei, in flowing polyphony. The Magnificat and Ave Maria offers inspired music too, performed with equal freshness and dedication. Vividly atmospheric sound. At Naxos price, not to be missed.

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