I have very much enjoyed Nordic Voices from their albums Djå?ki da? (review) and Lamentations (review), the latter of which also took on repertoire by Victoria. With only six solo voices we have the same purity of tone and transparency of texture as with the previous releases, and with a gorgeous church acoustic this is a sound into which one can become absorbed for a long time.
The programme consists of motets from Victoria’s first two collections, which come from his early career and his time in Rome, where he studied at the newly founded Collegium Germanicum. Victoria was to remain in Rome for two decades from 1565 onwards, and the demand for new religious music meant that this was an extremely fruitful period.Read more “Musically composed according to fashion,” we can perhaps imagine some of the effects sought by Victoria, the intent of these pieces very much being ‘to encourage piety in the faithful’, as summed up in Soteraña Aguirre’s admirable booklet notes.
With all texts given in both in the original Latin and English translation, one can follow the rising inflections of the first lines in Tue es Petrus, the floating dove moving above the harmonies of Vidi speciosam, and contrast these with the descending implorations of Salve, Regina. Victoria’s art is supreme in its directness of expression, carrying texts with clarity while at the same time developing considerable polyphonic and structural complexity. Nordic Voices’ approach is equally unfussy, while being deeply expressive and sensitive to Victoria’s many subtleties.
There are of course many ways to skin the proverbial cat, and listeners used to a more jovial rendition of the celebratory Christmas piece Quem vidistis, pastores may perhaps miss some of the rhythmic ‘swing’ in Nordic Voices’ more reflective approach. There is no way of knowing which style of performance would have been appreciated in its day but I would say there has to be room for both, and there will always be room on my shelf for Nordic Voices.
– MusicWeb International (Dominy Clements) Read less
Works on This Recording
Quem vidistis, pastoresby Tomás Luis de Victoria Orchestra/Ensemble:
Period: Renaissance Written: by 1572
Ardens est cor meumby Tomás Luis de Victoria Orchestra/Ensemble:
Period: Renaissance Written: 1576; Italy
Congratulamini mihiby Tomás Luis de Victoria Orchestra/Ensemble:
Period: Renaissance Written: 1572; Italy
An instrument of graceJuly 29, 2017By Dean Frey See All My Reviews"Unfortunately I wasn't able to listen to the SACD version of this disc, but the stereo one is stunning enough. It's amazing what a rich and full and immersive sound these three men and women create. Of course they need to share credit with the Chandos engineers, the venue (Ris kirke in Oslo, which provides a rich fullness but without an exaggerated acoustic), and the genius of Tomás Luis de Victoria, who makes the most of the six vocal lines in these Motets. But the blending of these voices is really extraordinary. This music sounds so gorgeous, but I don't believe that's the real goal in these performances. Rather, these find musicians seem to be searching for the emotional and spiritual depths of this super-charged music, and the surface beauty is only a side-effect. This disc will reward deep and careful listening, with pauses for reflection. "Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help." When May Sarton wrote this she was speaking about gardening which is, she said, "an instrument of grace." She might have been writing about these Motets."Report Abuse