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.
Two of Delphian’s most admired ensembles 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, while violinist and director Bojan Čičić’s interactions with cornettist Gawain Glenton – and the rich ornamentation contributed by all the musicians here – bring the period back to vivid, unforgettable life.