The Latitude 37 trio has added its refined voice to Australia’s small but vibrant early music community, with a debut release that adheres to much the same winning formula as the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Baroque Tapas, also featuring Laura Vaughan.
One senses the ensemble’s inventiveness as a whole as well as the personalities of the players and their guests. Their rapport is most rewarding in Salaverde’s Canzon a due, where Julia Fredersdorff’s sweet-toned Baroque violin interlaces with the drier gamba passages, sensitively underscored by Donald Nicolson on chamber organ. The overall selection is perhaps more solemn than that of Tapas, as in the opening regal procession of Diego Ortiz’s Passamezzo antico and two pieces by Caccini and Palestrina, with Siobhán Stagg’s light soprano beaming through clouds. Some tracks replace gamba with the lirone, an Italian continuo instrument with a unique, gossamer sheen to its plaintive chords.
There’s plenty to liven up proceedings: Guy du Blêt’s varied percussion is essential to the success of the album in exuberant spagnoletta dance rhythms and a rustic Kapsberger passacaglia. Improvised, virtuosic flourishes over ground bass are executed by all players with flair. A small world, but one full of discovery.