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Music Of Marian Devotion From Spain's Century Of Gold

Marian Consort / Gwendolen / Walshe / Borrett
Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Delphian   Catalog #: 34086   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joan NavarroFrancisco GuerreroAlonso LoboJuan Esquivel,   ... 
Performer:  Rory McCleery
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

An auspicious debut disc from a fine British vocal consort.

The Marian Consort is a group of six singers – two sopranos, counter-tenor, tenor, baritone and bass. Formed at Oxford University in 2007, they specialise in music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras and they perform, as here, under the direction of counter-tenor, Rory McCleery. This, I believe, is their recording debut and it’s an auspicious one.

The programme is shrewdly chosen and in his excellent booklet note Bruno Turner brings out the connections between several of the featured composers without labouring the point. It will be noted that the sections of the Ordinary of the Mass run through the programme but, intriguingly, Rory McCleery has
Read more devised a composite approach, bringing in movements from three separate Mass settings. Further interest is provided by the decision to juxtapose some of the Mass movements with the motets which inspired the composition of the Masses. So, for example, Lobo’s Mass setting is based on Guerrero’s motet Maria Magdalene.

Throughout the whole programme the singing of the Marian Consort is very precise and controlled and the ensemble is well balanced. One is left in no doubt that here is a group of singers who are used to working with each other and who blend their voices and their musical natures together as by instinct. There is a great deal to admire in the precision of their tuning and the purity of tone. I must admit that my own preference is for the greater tonal richness that a slightly larger consort – perhaps two to a part – can provide in this music. However, I still gained a great deal of pleasure from listening to this flawlessly executed programme.

I’ve already referred to Guerrero’s Maria Magdalene. This is an Easter piece, a very fine composition, and it’s performed here with splendid conviction. I don’t recall hearing previously O Virgo Benedicta by Ceballos but it’s an impressive piece, sung here with a dignified fervour that matches the music itself. Lobo’s Ave Regina caelorum is another impressive offering. The performance is characterised by control and poise but McCleery and his colleagues aren’t afraid to invest the music with vibrancy and they’re right to do so.

The last two pieces on the programme present a nice contrast. Guerrero’s Pastores loquebantur is a joyful Christmas piece, which is delivered with conviction and vitality; the closing Alleluias have a delightful exuberance. After this the Agnus Dei from the same composer’s Missa Sancta et immaculata offers a pleasingly reflective close.

The recording presents the singers quite close up but Paul Baxter’s engineering achieves what I’d call an intimate clarity. As I said, this is a most auspicious disc. Great care has gone into the planning and execution of this disc and it should give great pleasure.


John Quinn, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Regina caeli, for vocal ensemble by Joan Navarro
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
2. Maria Magdalene by Francisco Guerrero
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Length: 7 Minutes 59 Secs. 
3. Missa Maria Magdalene: Kyrie by Alonso Lobo
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1602 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4. Ave Virgo sanctissima by Francisco Guerrero
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
5. Missa Ave Virgo sanctissima: Gloria by Juan Esquivel
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
6. O Virgo benedicta, for chorus by Rodrigo de Ceballos
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
7. Missa Ave Virgo sanctissima: Credo by Juan Esquivel
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Length: 9 Minutes 49 Secs. 
8. Ave Regina Caelorum, motet by Alonso Lobo
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
9. Missa Maria Magdalene: Sanctus by Alonso Lobo
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1602 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
10. O sacrum convivium, motet by Sebastián de Vivanco
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
11. Missa Maria Magdalene: Benedictus by Alonso Lobo
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1602 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
12. Magnificat by Sebastián de Vivanco
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 11 Minutes 34 Secs. 
13. Pastores loquebantur by Francisco Guerrero
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Conductor:  Rory McCleery
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Spain 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
14. Missa "Sancta et immaculata": Agnus Dei by Francisco Guerrero
Performer:  Rory McCleery ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1566; Spain 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 

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