I was really happy to find a new CD by British choir The Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers, this time with new works. This is a special case for me because it features music by one composer that has as special place in my listening playlist of Iberian polyphony: Francisco Guerrero.
There are quite interesting works by Guerrero in this CD, most of them (I think) are first recordings of these works. Whether they are first recordings or not, the 12-part triple-choir Duo Seraphim and the 8-part double-choir Laudate Dominum are stunning works by the Spanish master, sounding great.
The well-known motet Maria Magdalene, in my opinion, is not so great when compared, i.e., with The Tallis Scholars recording. The CD also features the hymn Vexilla regis, in the More Hispano tradition, the Gloria from Missa Surge propera, the Credo from the double-choir Missa de la batalla escoutez, based on Janequin’s well-known chanson, and the two Agnus Dei from Missa Congratulamini mihi.
The second composer featured in this CD is Alonso Lobo. We find the well-known 6-part motet Versa est in luctum which, in my opinion, is not my favourite recording of this work. There are other two motets quite interesting: the Ave regina caelorum and the 8-part Ave Maria. Two movements from the Mass by Lobo are included here. The first is the Kyrie from Missa Maria Magdalene – a parody mass using as model Guerrero’s motet – which established the connection between between the two composers (Lobo was a pupil of Guerrero); the second is a bonus track which (I think) is the first recording of Lobo’s Credo Romano. We can also listen to responsory Libera me, which does not strike me in terms of interpretative choices: i.e. the “Tremens” section is very “calm” for the tempestuous character of the text.
In whole, this is CD to have in any collection of polyphony, mostly because it brings new recordings of these two Spanish masters which, in nowdays, is to be welcomed.
Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)
1. Duo Seraphim a 12
Alonso Lobo (1555-1617)
2. Kyrie (from Missa Maria Magdalene)
3. Libera me
4. Gloria (from Missa Surge propera)
5. Laudate Dominum a 8
6. Maria Magdalene
7. Credo (from Missa de la batalla escoutez)
8. Vexilla Regis
9. Ave Regina caelorum
10. Ave Maria a 8
11. Versa est in luctum
12. Agnus Dei I & II (from Missa Congratulamini mihi)