By Jim D.
Although he is best known for his many sacred compositions, these Italian madrigals are among Schutz's earliest vocal works. Those who only know those later pieces may be surprised to hear a hint of Gesualdo here, but the composer learned the style during his studies in Venice. The entire set was never meant to be heard in one go--like any sweet stuff, it has to be spaced out--so sample, if you can, the eighth in the set, "Fuggi, fuggi o mio core," with its rushing figures and alternating meters, or number 15, "Dunque addio, care selve," which comes, after four minutes of harmonic twisting, to inevitable and perfect rest. While I'm not entirely sold on performing this music with so many voices on a part (not that 18 singers is a huge choir), there's little fault to be found with the singing itself. Texts are provided, but the English is printed on different pages than the Italian being sung.