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Charles Brewer
American Record Guide, November 2015

…a must-have for any collection of renaissance music. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Judith Malafronte
Opera News, August 2015

Ring Around Quartet and Consort showcases each of its members in imaginative readings, including a few versions for solo lute. Even in ensembles the voices retain individuality, blending gently for the sorrowful “Occhi miei, al pianger nati” and energetically intoning the “Tandaridondella” refrain of Sebastiano Festa’s “L’ultimo dì di Maggio.”

Tenor Umberto Bartolini is an engaging performer with an attractive, easy sound, and his drunken opening to Zesso’s “D’un bel matin d’amore” is amusing without exaggeration. © 2015 Opera News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2015

As the world headed towards the 16th century, a new era of music, that we now describe as coming from the Renaissance courts of Italy, became fashionable. It was so totally different to the religious vocal music that had held sway a century before, to the point that today it still sounds lightweight and usually joyful of character, Frotolle becoming its generic name. We had also moved to a time when a group of instruments would be used, compared to the unaccompanied sacred works or songs from strolling players. Yet the basis of much that was written, even by the ‘serious’ composers of the time, was based on folk music that had existed before, and often passed down from anonymous sources. The present disc of Frottole covers the music that was to emerge at this time and gathered together by the Venetian publisher, Ottaviano Petrucci, in a number of books, the first one containing 64 works that would be suitable for various voices and accompanying instruments. From his publications the Italian-based Ring Around Quartet and Consort have selected eighteen pieces of very differing character, including Tromboncino’s Su, su, leva, alza le ciglia, a more recently revived ‘hit’ song. But whether comic or sad, the music is highly pleasurable, and performed with verve and impeccable intonation whether as instrumentalist or as singers, the haunting quality of Vera Marenco’s soprano voice and clarity of Giuliano Lucini’s lute playing being particularly notable. Outstanding sound and strongly recommended. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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