Sunday, 16 August 2015

Victoria - Missa Gaudeamus - Lay Clerks of Westminster Cathedral/Martin

Rating: 4/5

A very good reconstruction

This is a good recording by Westminster Cathedral.  It is not by the usual full choir but just the Lay Clerks, so the all-male ensemble lends the music a depth of sound which may be unfamiliar but which I like very much.

The music is a full choral and instrumental reconstruction of a mass for the Feast Of The Assumption (15th August) based on the choral music of Victoria and the instrumental music of Frescobaldi.  It is a major undertaking and they succeed very well, I think.  The sequence of polyphony, chant and instrumental music is performed with skill and feeling, giving a strong atmosphere and sense of worship.   The singing is of a particularly high standard, I think - unsurprisingly from Westminster Cathedral, who have been making fine recordings of Victoria's masses for many years now.

If you enjoy this sort of reconstruction, don't hesitate – the music is wonderful and very well performed, and Hyperion's recorded sound is excellent as usual.  Personally, I'm less keen on full reconstructions than on just sequences of polyphony (with or without chant), but that's just my personal taste and the reason for a four-star rather than five-star review, but for what it is, it's excellent.

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