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A new recording from Westminster Cathedral features the gentlemen of their choir in a fascinating programme which brings to life the musical and liturgical traditions of this foundation.
This recording by the lay clerks of Westminster Cathedral presents a full choral, and instrumental, celebration of Mass for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which falls on 15 August. It is based on music by two major composers, Tomás Luis de Victoria and Girolamo Frescobaldi. Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus provides the central feature of an elaborate liturgical sequence in which other music—including motets by Victoria, Mass Propers and other passages of chant, and organ music by Frescobaldi in several forms—is interpolated between the movements of the Mass Ordinary. This festive celebration of Mass is intended not as a reconstruction of a known occasion in the early seventeenth century, but as a sort of musical offering that illustrates the complex liturgical structures becoming available in a period when the resources for the enrichment of the liturgy were growing steadily.
“New recordings of Tomas Luis de Victoria's intensely beautiful mass settings, the musical peak of the Spanish Renaissance, come along frequently enough. This latest, recorded in Westminster cathedral, places one of them...It makes a compelling whole, sung with rapt purity by the male voices of Westminster Cathedral choir.”
19th July 2009
“This offers satisfying musical variety, sung with smooth elegance by the Lay Clerks of Westminster cathedral...the Gloria, Benedictus and Agnus Dei of the Mass itself do full justice to Victoria's sublime, seamlessly flowing polyphony.”
“A stunning disc that will become the new benchmark in this repertoire. Westminster Cathedral's 19 Lay Clerks give a beautifully paced rendition of Victoria's rarely performed… Missa Gaudeamus. Organ and choir come together in the final Recercar: Sancta Maria by Frescobaldi. The choral blend is - as might be expected - superb and exquisitely balanced. The countertenors soar to amazing heights without the slightest hint of strain.”
“An elaborate musical mosaic, the appeal of which owes much to the atmospheric depths of the Westminster acoustic, beautifully captured on this recording”
“Close-up, full-throated and passionate”
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