Guerrero: Sacrae cantiones

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LABELS: Naïve Astrée
WORKS: Sacrae cantiones
PERFORMER: La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XX/Jordi Savall
CATALOGUE NO: ES 9953 Reissue (1992)
Sixteenth-century Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero is featured in a reissued disc of motets for four, five, six, eight and 12 voices, with and without instruments. They come from a handful of collections published between 1555 and 1597 and show Guerrero’s skill in evoking a wide range of moods, joyful, sombre and contemplative in turn. Jordi Savall’s ensemble is well-equipped to project the skilfully wrought structures and expressive allure of the music. Some of the pieces fare better than others in respect of vocal texture and ensemble. Tenors and basses occasionally lack tonal refinement but, at their strongest the performances provide a radiant conspectus of Guerrero’s masterly motets. Nicholas Anderson