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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, January 2009

I’m not at all familiar with either Carlo Gaifa or Vincenzo Manno and so, since neither the CD insert nor the booklet indicate which tenor sings what, I assume (perhaps wrongly) that Carlo Gaifa, whose name is listed first, is the lead tenor in the long and extremely difficult Combattimento, and that Vincenzo Manno is the lighter, higher tenor who sings in Tempro la cetra and as second tenor in Interrote speranze. Both have extraordinarily beautiful voices; those who’ve became used, over the years, to either imperfect light opera tenors tossed into Monteverdi because they couldn’t hack Rossini or Mozart, or tenors like Rogers, “musical” but somewhat dry of timbre, will revel in the Italianate beauty of their voices. They blend perfectly in Interrote speranze, and Gaifa’s solo singing (if it is indeed he) on Combattimento reveals a power that wouldn’t be out of place in Tosca, though with finer technical control than most modern-day Italian opera tenors have.

Get it, listen, marvel, and treasure it. © 2009 Fanfare Read complete review

J. F. Weber
Fanfare, January 2009

When this first appeared, it was hailed as a collection of greatest hits in fine performances. Not the least of its attractions was the placing of the dramatic Combattimento last on the program following a group of unstaged madrigals, as the composer intended. The work was already well represented on CD and the duplications have multiplied since then, but this remains a superb realization of the masterly work from Book 8. Three other pieces are found in Book 7. Bel pastore is the most popular piece in the posthumous Ninth Book, while Quel squardo and Et è pur dunque were first published in 1632 in “Scherzi Musicali.” © 2009 Fanfare Read complete review

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