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Victoria: Missa Gaudeamus / Martin, Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks

Victoria / Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks / Mart
Release Date: 07/14/2009 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67748  
Composer:  Girolamo FrescobaldiAnonymousTomás Luis de Victoria
Performer:  Thomas Wilson
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a sheer delight.... I can’t imagine that I shall review any CD in the next month more deserving.

Without in the least yielding my love of Josquin and Palestrina as the masters of renaissance polyphony, I have to admit that Victoria has always run them pretty close in my estimation, ever since I heard one of his settings sung – not very well, it must be admitted – at High Mass in Toledo Cathedral many years ago.

I’ve always thought that British choirs did Victoria better justice than those Spanish singers, even though, as a Spaniard who made good in Italy – hence the change of name from Vittoria to Victoria – the Toledo choristers ought theoretically to be more in tune with his style. Listen to the
Read more recording of Victoria’s Requiem by the choir of Montserrat, formerly on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and, unless you have a very tolerant ear, you will not find the singing easy to live with.

Over the years, however, various compromises have been struck between the styles of Southern European and English choirs: for example, the numerous recordings made for the Decca Oiseau Lyre label in the 1960s and 1970s by the Choir of the Carmelite Priory, London, under the direction of Edgar Fleet and John McCarthy, some of which may still be around. A good example is their recording of Palestrina’s Missa Sine Nomine and Missa Ecce ego Johannes (475 8717); though this recording is still well worth hearing, it seems to have been deleted almost as soon as it was reissued....

Soon afterwards, Westminster Cathedral Choir began to take over this blend of the two traditions with great success; under successive directors of music they have made a number of successful recordings for Hyperion, including several of Victoria’s music – Missa O quam gloriosum and Missa Ave maris stella under David Hill (CDA66114) and Missa Dum complerentur, etc., under James O’Donnell (CDA66886) to name but two of the most successful. The new recording deserves to join them.

There already exists a highly praised recording of Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus, coupled with the Missa pro Victoria and motets (The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood, ASV CDGAU198). On that well-filled disc you get more Victoria for your money and, if that’s what you want, it remains strongly recommendable. What the new Hyperion recording offers is not an attempt to reconstruct, McCreesh-style, any actual occasion when Victoria’s music was used for the feast of the Assumption, merely a glimpse of what might have been, combining the Missa Gaudeamus with the plainchant propers of that feast and music by his younger contemporary, Frescobaldi. Very effective it is, too.

I’ve now listened to the recording right through several times without any cause for complaint. Even the chant sections are brought to life by these singers and I can’t imagine the sections of Victoria’s Mass being better sung. All this is done with the art which conceals art – there’s never any sense of striving for a virtuoso performance. If this is a shorter review than usual, that’s because there really is nothing to criticise....

Hyperion’s accompanying material is, as usual, excellent.... The notes, by Jon Dixon, are detailed and informative. One small niggle: the translators can’t decide whether to use the old-style language of the Book of Common Prayer or contemporary language. Some of the translations are rather creative and don’t correspond to either the 1662 Prayer Book or the modern versions employed in Anglican and Roman Catholic usage.

My recommendation is to buy this without delay.

-- Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni: Toccata avanti la Messa by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Thomas Wilson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
2. Gaudeamus omnes by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
3. Missa "Gaudeamus" by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1576; Spain 
4. Dominus vobiscum – Famulorum tuorum, quaesumus Domine by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
5. In omnibus requiem quesivi by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
6. Propter veritatem by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
7. Alleluia Assumpta est Maria by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
8. Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni: Messa della Domenica - Canzon dopo l'Epistola by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Thomas Wilson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1635; Italy 
9. Dominus vobiscum - In illo tempore by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
10. Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni: Messa della Madonna - Recercar dopo il credo by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Thomas Wilson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1635; Italy 
11. Assumpta est Maria "Dominus vobiscum" by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
12. Vidi speciosam by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1572; Spain 
13. Per omnia saecula saeculorum by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Portugal 
14. Pater noster by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
15. Optimam partem elegit sibi Maria by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
16. Dominus vobiscum – Mensae caelestis participes effecti by Anonymous
Conductor:  Matthew Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Lay Clerks
Period: Medieval 
17. Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni: Recercar "Sancta Maria" by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Thomas Wilson (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

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