English vocal ensemble The Gesualdo Six formed in 2014 and is led by composer, conductor, singer and organist Owain Park. Fading is the group’s third recording for Hyperion and follows hot on the heels of Christmas, released late in 2019.
Like its predecessor, Fading consists of a cappella works taken almost entirely from two eras: the Renaissance and the present day. This is not the most obvious combination nor easiest to pull off successfully, but Fading is, happily, a triumph on multiple fronts.
The impeccably chosen programme is named for one of two haunting Arabesques by Joanna Marsh (b. 1970), but also makes reference to the ancient Christian service of Compline, observed at the end of the day as the final component of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours. Prayers and hymns composed for Compline often make reference to the transition between light/day and dark/night, sometimes including exhortations to the Lord for safe passage through to the new dawn (with night also a metaphor for death).
Thomas Tallis (c.1505–1585), Carlo Gesualdo (c.1561–1613), Luca Marenzio (1553/4–1599) and Jonathan Seers (b....