The King's Singers have been in decline of late. Let's not mistake this statement for one in which I say, "it's crap." What I mean is, most of the more recent King's albums haven't had the same sort of cohesive synergy which characterized their very first albums back in the Carrington-era incarnation of the group. Very very good, probably better than anyone else on the scene; but not quite as good as the King's Singers of 1976 or '77 (I forget when they actually started).
They are now back to fighting trim.
The Carrington-era group was not quite as aggressive in terms of individual vocal production as they are in this album, which is fine, a different ethic is at work here. A large portion of blame for the new and wonderful sound can be laid at the feet of new countertenor, Robin Tyson, who seems to act as an anchor for the upper end of the group's sound just as the equally wonderful Stephen Connolly has done for the bass end of the scale for many years now. The group's musicianship has never been so forward, yet so...well... musical, as it is here.
And then there's the material... Gesualdo is one of those lurking genuises who hide in Renaissance repertoire. He's always there, just overlooked more often than is fair. I think of what Bach must have been before Mendelssohn reintroduced him to the world--then I think of Gesualdo. The King's drive straight for the odd little turns that populate Gesualdo's music and reveal them in ways which I have not experienced before.
In short, this album is unearthly perfection.