Excellent performance, both vocal and instrumental. O dulcis amor is a well-balanced compilation of cloistered (Vittoria Aleotti, Caterina Assandra, Isabella Leonarda) and independent (Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi) composers from the 16th and early 17th century, of sacred and secular music, and of vocal and instrumental pieces. Highly recommended.
As much as I appreciate this album, though, it griefs me that this is again a compilation. And yet one has to be thankful because even compilations of female composers from the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque are brazenly rare. Each of the featured composers—or Sessa, or Rusca, or Perucona, or Badalla, or Meda, to name a few—really deserve to have their own, dedicated albums recorded, like any male composer from that time. There’s a handful of dedicated recordings with music from Isabella Leonarda, Barbara Strozzi, and especially Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, but all of them together don’t amount to even a paltry dozen albums overall—compared to stacks and stacks of dedicated recordings with music from Tallis, de Lassus, Byrd, or Gesualdo. Hello performers, hello producers: it may be news for you, but neither today nor in bygone times was having a penis a prerequisite to becoming a capable, or great, composer.