Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (1580–1651) was one of the most innovative and original composers in early seventeenth-century Rome, and a virtuoso on the lute and chitarrone, or theorbo. His Second Book of Arias, published in Rome in 1623, for one and two voices, are extraordinary works that reveal both his vivid imagination in setting poetry to music, and his flair for dramatic gestures, making him one of the most quintessentially ‘Baroque’ composers of his time.
"...The CD features some first-class singing, especially from the group’s tenor, Gian Paolo Faggoto. Tu dormi displays a notable sensitivity to the sentiment of the text and a remarkable ease of ornamentation. Perche pieta, a soprano-bass duet sung by Janet Youngdahl and Paul Grindlay, is likewise worth noting for the exceptional virtuosity displayed by the two singers. The continuo section of the group, comprised of theorbo, archlute, and harpsichord, provide a very nice support even though a greater variety of sound colour would be welcome. The solo theorbo pieces demonstrate considerable musical maturity and skills on the instrument by both Victor Coelho and David Dolata; Kapsberger’s Corrente and an anonymous Toccata are particularly charming. Overall, this polished and pleasurable recording is a welcome reminder of the musical versatility of one of the 17th century’s most original composers."
‘...this is as good a recording of early music as I have ever heard. The small instrumental group [is] widely, but naturally, spaced across the stereo picture, superbly balanced and wonderfully clear. The vocalists are placed centre-stage. The bass notes ring out with true ambience, and the theorbo and archlute are recorded intimately so that every note is clear.’