PERFORMER: Soloists & Orchestra of the Renaissance/Richard Cheethem, Michael Noone
CATALOGUE NO: GCD 921402
Last year was the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero. Not much seemed to happen on the recording front, though his Missa de la batalla escoutez was issued on Hyperion (reviewed June 1999). That recording, like the present one, employed wind and brass instruments as well as voices, since those forces were used in combination on a regular basis in Seville where Guerrero worked.
This current disc attempts to reconstruct the Requiem Mass and Burial Service that followed the composer’s death. It contains some really marvellous music, mostly by Guerrero, such as a lovely, spacious Kyrie and a truly grandiose setting of Domine Jesu Christe, both from the 1582 version of his Requiem. The singing is rather fine in these pieces but elsewhere (in Josquin’s ‘Pater noster’ for example) the countertenor part slightly overasserts itself. Among the purely instrumental tracks, Cabezón’s organ piece on ‘Ad Dominum cum tribularer’ makes a great impact as does Esquivel’s ‘In paradisum’. Indeed, the entire recording shows us just what treasures are to be had inside the secret, dark jewel box of Spanish Renaissance music. Anthony Pryer