Author Sarah Dunant and her novel Sacred Hearts supplied direct inspiration for this compelling album of music that might have been performed by a convent of Ferrarese nuns in the 1570s. She recalls in her liner notes how discovering the work of Musica Secreta did much the same for the book’s development. The cross-fertilised fruits of their collaboration prove irresistible and, thanks to the honest-to-goodness sound of the recording and unaffected music-making, mercifully free from artificial additives. Highlights include a heartfelt performance of Palestrina’s Mass ‘Veni sponsa Christi’ and a sensuous reading of his Lamentations . Strongly recommended.