Morales, Palestrina, Dufay, Victoria, Mouton, Clemens non Papa, Lassus, Anon.

COMPOSERS: Anon.,Clemens Non Papa,Dufay,Lassus,Morales,Mouton,Palestrina,Victoria
LABELS: Monteverdi Productions
WORKS: Pilgrimage to Santiago: works by Morales, Palestrina, Dufay, Victoria, Mouton, Clemens non Papa, Lassus and Anon.
PERFORMER: The Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner
In 2004 the Monteverdi Choir undertook a geographical and musical journey along the famous medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This recording was made on their return, but it captures the fervent atmosphere of their concerts and displays all the musical and interpretative reasons why Gardiner is such a success. Take, for example, his performance of Dufay’s intricate Rite majorem Jacobem, already nicely recorded by Andrew Kirkman on Hyperion. Only Gardiner notices the sudden use of block chords on the word ‘rabiem’ (rage) – which he makes the choir blurt out – and only he places the dynamics so as to complement the total structure rather than the simplistic curve of the local phrase. Again, the Naxos recording of Victoria’s Missa O Quam Gloriosum is certainly commendable, but Gardiner constructs theatre out of this music, attacking the Gloria at speed, and evoking clouds of acclamation from the choir. In the quietly sublime O Maria by Clemens non Papa the line never fails and the colours and dynamics never cease to operate. Not all of this is ‘authentic’, but this is a pilgrimage and we are drawn into every step of the way. Anthony Pryer