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La Ritirata, La Galanía, Nigel North, and Ars Nova Copenhagen

The Spanish baroque ensemble La Ritirata brings something special to the music they play. For the 2009 Arsis label release, Chiaroscuro, they chose a more or less standard program of baroque sonatas, which receive an very intense and lyrical perspective that anything but standard.

Every time I hear a new recording with Spanish soprano Raquel Andueza, I become completely addicted to it. Her 2010 Anima e Corpo label release of Spanish songs with La Galanía is surely her best yet.

She is joined by colleagues Jesús Fernández Baena and Pierre Pitzl, who provide some fine basso continuo accompaniment.

It is difficult to add to the acclaim that lutenist Nigel North has already received, except to say that he is, without a doubt, the best in the world. His 2010 BGS recording of music Sylvius Leopold Weiss proves as much.

It seems that everything Paul Hillier comes into musical contact with turns to gold. The 2009 Dacapo release of Heinrich Schütz’s Weihnachtshistorie and Auferstehungshistorie is no different.

The performances by Ars Nova Copenhagen, Concerto Copenhagen, and Sirius Viols are unequivocally world-class.

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