'Away in a Manger..' Reginald Jacques
Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir capture the emotion in sacred choral works from Renaissance Spain by Victoria and contemporaries
Composer: Lobo, Guerrero, Victoria, Cardoso et al
Repertoire: Sacred Choral Works from Renaissance Spain
Artists: The Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner
Label: Soli Deo Gloria SDG 710
The Music In the hundred years 1550-1650 Spain was a musical powerhouse whose composers created beautifully intricate and readily emotional choral music. Notable on this disc is the rarely-heard setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Alonso Lobo – a breathtaking masterpiece – and the nave-shaking triple-choir motet Duo Serpahim by Guerrero.
The Performance John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir demonstrates an ability to capture the emotional thrust of this music without making it sound ‘un-sacred’. Beautiful, arch-like phrasing abounds in the Lamentations and Duo Seraphim has awesome spatial power (the three choirs sing from different corners of a church and you hear it). There is the odd rough corner blend-wise, and some moments when the tuning isn’t as settled as you’d expect, but they’re countered by a sensitive devotional feel throughout.
The Verdict Approach this as a reflective pilgrimage through Northern Spain and there’s no way you won’t be moved, inspired and delighted.