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Monday, May 4, 2015

The Sixteen, Flight of Angels, Francisco Guerrero, Alonso Lobo, Harry Christophers

As today's CD at hand informs us, the Sevillian 16th Century church composers Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) and Alonso Lobo (1555-1617) gained such renown that their music was performed frequently for centuries afterwards in cathedrals in Spain, Portugal and the New World. Yet today we do not know them well. Harry Christophers and the Sixteen seek to put that to rights in the recent anthology of sacred vocal works by the two, entitled Flight of Angels (CORO 16128).

There are 12 beautifully contrapuntal works represented in all on the disk, divided between the two masters. As always the Sixteen and Christophers give us sparkling performances that are all we could wish for, pristinely articulate and brightly expressive.

The short pieces, some from settings of the Mass, others motets, express liturgical themes quite varied in mood from joyful to sorrowful, with brilliant contrapuntal interplay worthy as some of the most accomplished and sonorous examples of the age.

It is perhaps one of those anthologies that you didn't know or anticipate would be central to an appreciation of early vocal music, yet that is certainly so. The Sixteen and Christophers once again show what a treasure they are. Get this one of you can. You will not be disappointed.

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