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Mortuus Est Philippus Rex / Westminster Cathedral Choir


Release Date: 08/11/2009 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55248   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sebastian de VivancoFernando de las InfantasAlonso LoboAmbrosio Cotes,   ... 
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MORTUUS EST PHILIPPUS REX James O’Donnell, dir; Westminster Cathedral Ch HELIOS 55248 (65:54 Text and Translation)


Music by COTES, VIVANCO, FERNANDO DE LAS INFANTAS, ESCOBEDO, A. LOBO


The first disc was Hyperion 67075 (23:1), made a year after his other Guerrero disc, both leading up to the anniversary of Guerrero’s death in 1599. That has already been reissued in this series (32:3). In the first review, I observed without Read more being judgmental that O’Donnell recorded one Mass a cappella , as his choir usually does, but added wind instruments for this one, as some other ensembles habitually do. This parody Mass on Janequin’s chanson may have seemed just the ticket for this sort of treatment, even if O’Donnell allows only a very discreet use of the winds. Since it appeared, the Mass has also been recorded by Mark Dwyer (32:3) just days earlier and by Harry Christophers (32:6). Like the first recording of this Mass under Jean-Pierre Ouvrard, both were a cappella renditions. Choice among the three is difficult, for O’Donnell and Christophers offer excellent treatments of opposed styles of performance, while Dwyer’s disc is necessary for the only recording of a second Mass. The program opens with a familiar-sounding piece, an alternatim setting of the Spanish chant of “Pange lingua” (or “Tantum ergo,” the strophe heard more often). Following the Mass is the longest of the motets, the psalm “In exitu Israel,” an alternatim setting of the tonus peregrinus , familiar from Sunday Vespers all year long. The rest of the motets each have something to recommend their choice, making this a marvelous disc to introduce Renaissance lovers to a composer little known before the anniversary.


The other disc was Hyperion 67046 (22:4), one of a batch of recordings that marked the anniversary of the death of Philip II in 1598. In fact, this was reviewed along with another recording of Bartolomé de Escobedo’s Mass, and both added Ambrosio Cotes’s motet, sung at a memorial service for the king in Valencia cathedral that gave this disc its title. There was a clear choice between the two versions, for Bernard Fabre-Garrus added a wind ensemble (as O’Donnell did for the disc above). Consequently, it was possible to recommend both discs for their varied fillers and contrast in performing style. In the end, I recommended O’Donnell, which was worth every cent originally and is a bargain now.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber


Performance: *****/Sound: *****
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Philip II of Spain – a historical peg on which countless new recordings, special editions and musicological discoveries have been hung. This disc offer a cappella performances of music associated with Philip by one of our finest choirs. Westminster Cathedral Choir present motets written in the King’s memory, including an acerbic setting of ‘Versa est in luctum’ by Sebastián de Vivanco, and the better-known, deeply poignant setting of the same text by Alonso Lobo.

-- BBC Music Magazine, reviewing the original issue
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Works on This Recording

1. Versa est in luctum by Sebastian de Vivanco
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
2. Quasi stella matutina by Fernando de las Infantas
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Length: 8 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Spain (Circa 1572 - Circa 1574). 
3. Versa est in luctum by Alonso Lobo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1598; Spain 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
4. Libera me, Domine by Alonso Lobo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Length: 9 Minutes 36 Secs. 
5. Mortuus est Philippus Rex by Ambrosio Cotes
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1598; Spain 
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs. 
6. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Kyrie by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Gloria in excelsis Deo by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 6 Minutes 39 Secs. 
8. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Credo in unum Deum by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 8 Minutes 54 Secs. 
9. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Sanctus by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
10. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Benedictus by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
11. Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae: Agnus Dei by Bartolomé de Escobedo
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: ?1556-59; Spain 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 

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