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Il concerto segreto

In 1580, Alfondo II created a secret ensemble of soprano voices for his court, which would soon spread throughout Europe and perform before a select audience — the Duke and Duchess plus a few other prestigious personalities. At the Duke’s request, this musica riservata was overseen by Luzzasco Luzzaschi (ca1545-1607), who composed works that were perfectly suited to the women’s voices with breathtakingly virtuosic ornamentation in the form of passaggi, diminutions, cadenzas, and trills; the women’s vocal gifts could not have been better presented.

This recording focuses principally on this collection. The remaining works recorded here bear witness to the legacy of the concerto segreto in the decades that followed. 

The works for three female voices (Le tre sirene, Le tre damigelle, Le piante incantate) from Francesca Caccini’s opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (1625) are echoes of this practice. Even more intriguing is Claudio Monteverdi’s Come dolce hoggi l’auretta, piece for three sopranos, published posthumously in 1651, and Marenzio’s only piece for three high voices — Belle ne fe’ natura.


with the participation of

Yoann Moulin: harpsichord
Manon Papasergio: bass viol & triple harp

Gabriel Rignol: archlute




We would like to thank all the people who have accompanied us since the beginning of this adventure, friends, family, teachers, for their support and advice. You allowed us to create this first record. Thanks to Jérôme Lejeune for his trust and his artistic direction. Finally, a huge thank you to all the people who generously participated in the financing of this recording, and more particularly Sharon Wells, Anne Geisendorf, and Paul DeRosa, donors of La Néréide.

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