Tomás Luis de Victoria is definitely one of the most important composers in the music history of Spain. His masterpiece is the ‘Officium Defunctorum’, published in Madrid in 1605. In this requiem – written for the funeral of Maria of Austria, daughter of Emperor Charles V – the composer reached a mystical intensity of expression.
Philippe Herreweghe just loves composers “who know how to build entire worlds with sounds, recognizable from the first notes, profound and full of richness”. For him Tomás Luis de Victoria is one of them, “one of the greatest musical minds ever”.
So it was an obvious choice for Philippe Herreweghe to make a recording of this heavenly ‘Officium Defunctorum’. And… of course Collegium Vocale Gent – with its cristal clear sound – is the perfect instrument to perform such music. Looking forward to the first renaissance project of Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent for the label Phi!
“a CD of such beauty that it needs to be heard by every lover of Renaissance choral music. The music itself is stunning...Herreweghe’s 13 singers do it justice with performances that strike a perfect balance between lusciousness and clarity, expression and nobility.” The Times, 18th August 2012 *****
“The [Requiem]'s dramatic potential is not overtly exploited but rather suggested, such is the concentrated, cut-glass quality of the singing at its best...Fine as this account of the Requiem undoubtedly is, the series of accompanying motets contains some of the disc's finest singing.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2012
“The 13 voices are as finely balanced and harmonious as you could wish, and throughout the recording there is immaculate tuning and exceptional attention to detail. The sense of architecture in the motet Versa est in luctum, for example, is wonderfully judged” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****
“Herreweghe explores evey inflection of Victoria's score, includingt its restrained drama and grief transfigured by faith. The plainchant passages are sung with exceptional fluency and grace...The singers' diction is strikingly clear without seeming exaggerated...[Herreweghe] and his choir obviously understand each other and Victoria's music at the deepest level. A masterly recording in every way.” International Record Review, December 2012