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Guerrero - Missa Sancta et immaculata
Guerrero, Victoria and Morales together comprise the triumvirate at the pinnacle of the Spanish Renaissance, and of these Guerrero was without doubt the most highly respected in his time.
Missa Sancta et immaculata comes from his first published collection of Masses (1566) and takes its theme from Morales’s motet Sancta et immaculata virginitas (‘Holy and immaculate virginity’). Guerrero expands the original four-part texture to include a second soprano line, and the resultant shimmering texture marks this out to be a truly remarkable Mass. This is its first recording.
Two motets, a Magnificat setting, and three Vesper hymns complete this recording, the latter works beginning a long-overdue exploration of the wealth of Hispanic melody, a unique treasury in the chant repertoire. Lauda mater ecclesia is an extraordinary work setting a—somewhat smutty—text (now removed from the liturgy) in honour of Mary Magdalen.
“The music and performances on this disc defy superlatives—just go out and buy it!” Early Music Today
“Spellbinding: a really magnificent achievement” Goldberg
“Exhilarating, full of variety, and spiritually uplifting. Westminster Cathedral Choir are on their very best form, incisive and thrilling. Very highly recommended” Gramophone Magazine
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Music from the Time of Emperor Charles V
During the first half of the sixteenth century, there was no greater a ruler than the Emperor Charles V, whose court was lavishly supplied with music by composers of high talent. Charles had a personal enthusiasm for music, and his chapel was more or less in constant attendance on his travels. It is small wonder, then, that a number of the greatest composers of the age had some connection with him, including the Franco-Flemish composers Manchicourt, Cristóbal de Morales and Nicolas Gombert. Complementing these composers are the perhaps less well-known Guerrero and Jacobus Clemens non Papa. As members of the chapel choir of Charles V, most of these composers travelled the Empire widely, and were praised as among the outstanding masters of their time. Only Francisco Guerrero worked exclusively in Spain. To us the least well known of the Spanish composers of the period, and consequently the most underrated, he was the most admired Spanish musician of the second half of the sixteenth century, known for his Latin liturgical works. Manchicourt composed some of the most glorious music of the time, this CD including the well-known early motet O Virgo virginum along with the premiere recording of the Agnus Dei from the Missa Reges terrae. De Morales is widely recognised as the most important figure in early sixteenth-century Spanish music, garnering frequent praise from his contemporaries and ranking with Palestrina in his mastery of polyphony. Nordic Voices here present two of his sumptuous and richly varied motets.
“Nordic Voices' mixed six-voice configuration (two sopranos, one each of mezzo, tenor, baritone and bass) is beautifully suited to the music in this programme, and their clear, radiant performances, full of character, are vividly captured by the DSD recording on this hybrid disc. The ensemble sound is intimate and close yet individual voices exhibit an airiness and spaciousness.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2007 ****
“Intonation? Impeccable. Ensemble? Unfailing precision in phrasing, dynamics, color – everything finely tuned a
succession of works ever-changing in style and expressive meaning.” Washington Post
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The Music of Westminster Cathedral Choir
'A wonderful programme. Westminster Cathedral Choir excite, enthral and electrify under both James O'Donnell and his predecessor David Hill. It would make an ideal gift for any lover of the tradition' (Cathedral Music)
'Bargain of the month' (Classic CD)
“Bargain of the month” Classic CD
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