Victoria: Missa pro defunctis; Feria VI in parasceve ad matutinum

Our rating 
1.0 out of 5 star rating 1.0

LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi Baroque Esprit
WORKS: Missa pro defunctis; Feria VI in parasceve ad matutinum
PERFORMER: Escolania & Capella de Música Montserrat, Ars Musicae de Barcelona/Ireneu Segarra, Pro Cantione Antiqua London/Bruno Turner
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77423 2 ADD (1977/78)
Victoria’s second setting of the Requiem Mass is a richly textured masterpiece, five parts weaving freely around a sixth singing a Gregorian melody in a long-note cantus firmus. The fluid counterpoint is sadly ill-served by the Spanish voices here: slides and scoops, mistunings and vibrato create a dense, plummy sound, lifeless, stolid and unlovely, hence the one-star rating. All the more relief then, when Pro Cantione Antiqua take over, focused and one-to-a-part, singing pieces from the Offices for Holy Week. Uninhibited countertenors sometimes grate momentarily, but a warm ambience and, within it, beautifully conceived phrasing, create a fine musical logic. George Pratt