Reviews of "Amorosa Fenice", songs by Giulio San Pietro de’ Negri ensemble Faenza, agOgique (AGO 018, 1 CD, 2014)

The ensemble Faenza imposes itself immediately with its precise diction, its volubility, its vocal suppleness, the balance between voice and accompaniment, its sense of the dialogue between the singers and the instruments; also by the virtuosity of the instruments and, in a general manner, by its care in the precise figurative musical translation of the images and the sentiments of the text.

Édith Weber, L'Education Musicale, October 2014


Finally, here is a CD devoted entirely to Giulio San Pietro de' Negri by Marco Horvat and his ensemble Faenza. It is a total surprise to hear these pages of such harmonic delicacy which undoubtedly had known hardly any equals in the same epoch except Monteverdi. The poems' emotions are translated by an astonishing invention with its chaotic rhythms, its unrestrained dissonances, its theatrical contrasts, and its languid lack of reserve. It is true that Marco Horvat, an incredibly versatile musician (he sings, plays many instruments and directs), draws out a lyric impetus and a fascinating, beautiful sound from his collaborators. This music, having come from a faraway time, moves and also galvanises, by its richness, its brusqueness, and its sparkle.

La Revue des deux mondes, December 2014


Twenty-one impassioned pieces probe an unexplored repertoire of the early 17th-century that gave a nod to the innovations of Monteverdi: they are the work of Giulio San Pietro de ' Negri, a little known Italian composer and singer, revealing the nuances of Italian music in the genre of accompanied monody. This recovery of Marco Horvat, a shrewd investigator of the beauty of Italian Baroque music, with his specialized ensemble Faenza, highlights the facade of the composer, of Genoese origin but born in Salento and above all active in the North of the peninsula. Their vocal and instrumental interpretation accurate and absorbing, Faenza is a group particularly attentive to the research of timbres and performance practices supported by constant musicological investigation.

G. A. Romana Veneziano, Il Giornale della Musica, February, 2015

The singing from a group of five soloists is absolutely superb, powerfully expressive and delicately but exquisitely ornamented, while the instrumental accompaniment is subtle and varied, using the timbres of a limited number of instruments to create a startling range of textures. The instrumental interludes showcase some charming recorder playing while the distinctive tones of the lirone are also prominent. In this sparely-scored repertoire there is nowhere to hide, but rather than approaching it with trepidation, the performers seem to delight in its exuberance. This is a CD which takes a fresh look at some largely unsuspected treasures and which more than deservedly invokes the phoenix in its title.

D. James Ross, Early Music Review 163, December 2014


It is a to a near total discovery that this disc Amorosa Fenice invites us. The Faenza ensemble is made up of four instrumentalists, joined by Marco Horvat, a veritable one-man orchestra, since, not content to play the theorbo, guitar and lirone, he also sings, all in directing his musicians. One is struck very quickly by the richness in the invention of this largely unknown composer, who makes himself the equal of the greatest among his contemporaries. In all this music, there is something vernal, lively, and bounding with energy. Even when these airs do not exude joy, the vibrancy is still present. The diversity in the association of voices and instruments assures a constant variety from one track to another of this disc; each new listening is a source of delight."

Laurent Bury,, October 6, 2014

The poignant Amorosa Fenice and the poetic Amorosa vedovetta set the tone of this program, the two magnificently sung by Olga Pitarch and Brigitte Vinson, while the shadow of Monteverdi hovers over Ride o Piange, which evokes the duos of L'Incoronazione di Poppea. D'India also comes to haunt the sublime monologue in stile rappresentativo, Langue e spira, interpreted with depth and fervor by tenor Jeffrey Thompson. And let us not forget to salute the excellent instrumental ensemble surrounding Marco Horvat, this versatile musician who moves from the lute to the lirone and then to song! In addition to two magnificent recorder players (Magali Imbert and Pierre Hamon), a suave viola (Christine Plubeau) and an inspired lutenist (Charles-Edouard Fantin), Horvat introduces the delicious sonorities of two unusual keyboards: a clavicytherium and a lautenwerk, whose previously unknown effervescence in the delicate hands of Matthieu Boutineau, illuminates this discovery of a forgotten musician.

Denis Morrier, Diapason, March 2015



This CD proposes a fascinating and singular musical journey, and what is even more extraordinary, brings back to light a composer so little frequented by the record industry as much as he is interesting, thanks to Marco Horvat who, as leader of the Faenza ensemble, retraces the steps of this little known personality of the early 17th century. The interpretation of Marco Horvat and of his ensemble Faenza is excellent: a sensitive direction that does not fail to underline " sensually " the style of a composer who never ceases to amaze us with his musical "finds." An optimum musical blend was obtained by the vocal soloists, at ease with Baroque virtuosity. A recording of great value and with highly-skilled interpretors who make this extraordinary music shine at its best.

Franco Bruni, Progress on line, mai 2014

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