WORKS: Requiem; Lamentabatur Jacob; Inclina Domine aurem tuam; Miserere nostri Deus
PERFORMER: Musica Ficta/Raúl Mallavibarrena
CATALOGUE NO: EN 2002
There are two Requiem Masses by the Spanish composer Morales, and this recording gives us his later version for five voices published in 1544. In general we know relatively little music by Renaissance composers from Spain, but these pieces by Morales really are quite magnificent – and that remark includes two of the motets recorded here as well. Inclina Domine is the odd one out in terms of both its doubtful authorship and, on this recording, its lack of musical coherence.
The works are performed by a young Spanish group consisting of two female singers, three male singers and an organist. Mixed female/male solo vocalists do not always work well in this kind of repertory, but here they blend marvellously – especially in the last three movements of the Requiem. Elsewhere (at the end of the first Kyrie, for example) they seem a little insecure. The organ usually contributes well to the ensemble adding body to the sound, but the rather complex, nimble lines of the Offertory movement from the Requiem become plodding and overwhelmed by its presence. Even so, this recording nicely reminds us that there still are little-known great composers out there in the darkness of the past. Anthony Pryer