Adriatic Voyage: Seventeenth-century music from Venice to Dalmatia

The Marian Consort, directed by Rory McCleery | The Illyria Consort, directed by Bojan Čičić

In March 1575, a party led by the Venetian diplomat Giacomo Soranzo set out on a mission to Constantinople. They sailed down the Istrian coast, along the length of present-day Croatia, and on to the Bay of Kotor. Much of the land they passed was the territory of the Serenissima – inhabited by both Italians and Slavs, and of strategic importance since it was exposed to constant Turkish threats from the Balkan hinterland.

The Marian Consort and The Illyria Consort join forces for this imaginative programme of sacred and secular music by composers working along the Dalmatian coast in the decades after Soranzo’s expedition. It was a time in which constant movement of people and trade of goods created linguistic and cultural cross-currents, in contrast to the sharp distinctions encouraged in later centuries by the emergence of modern nation states. Much of this music would have been regarded as Venetian, but the journey points up intriguing differences between the composers and pieces presented, many of them in premiere recordings.


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"Joining forces to make this Adriatic Voyage are Rory McCleery’s Marian Consort and The Illyria Consort directed by Croatian-born violinist Bojan Čičić, returning to his roots to track the musical territory of Venice, the lands of the Italians and the Slavs under attack from the turks. A constant movement of goods and people and arts creating the cultural cross-currents so beautifully realised here."

BBC Radio 3 Record Review

"Highlights are numerous, but I’ll start with Rory McCleery’s soft, bright, buoyant countertenor tones floating over the sunnily secular madrigal Donna ingrata by Gabriello Puliti...Equally ear-pricking are the vocal blending and superglued-together ornamentations from tenors Edward Ross and Ben Durrant over the following motet, Bone Jesu by Vinko Jelić...this is a cornucopia of sacred and secular instrumental and vocal music, performed with arresting, period-evocative beauty"