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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67479
Recording details: February 2004
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 19 minutes 37 seconds

'The choir of Westminster Cathedral has long been noted for its distinctive Continental-style tone, which gives its performances of Latin sacred polyphony an attractively distinctive quality. This magnificent recording, which shows off Victoria's mastery of the art of writing music for up to three choirs in the grandest possible manner, suggests that 2004 is a vintage year for them … recordings of Renaissance polyphony rarely come much better than this' (The Daily Telegraph)

'the choir is radiant in its home acoustic, and Martin Baker's well-researched decision to employ an understated organ 'continuo' adds small but telling touches of colour to the texture' (International Record Review)

'It is ideally suited to the full-throated, vibrant singing of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, while Martin Baker's finely controlled direction displays a keen architectural sense … A wonderful disc' (Goldberg)

Missa Ave regina caelorum
composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie  [2'56] GreekEnglish
Gloria  [3'27] LatinEnglish
Credo  [6'29] LatinEnglish

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Missa Ave Regina caelorum, written in eight parts for two equal SATB choirs, is a ‘parody’ mass based on Victoria’s two motet settings of Ave Regina caelorum. In the sixteenth century and earlier it was a standard practice (which might well now be considered plagiarism, but was probably then considered a form of compliment) for a composer to take an existing motet or motets by another composer as a basis for creating a larger-scale work such as a mass by using, elaborating on and developing the material in the source(s) and combining this with new material to build a much larger musical structure. Sometimes, as in this case, a composer might use material drawn from his own works. Victoria used this technique to write two other double-choir masses on the basis of his own paired five- and eight-part antiphon settings (the Missa Alma redemptoris mater and the Missa Salve Regina). In the ‘Ave Regina’ mass the listener will hear throughout echoes of passages from each of the source motets and the plainsong on which they are based, together with much newly composed material, especially in the vigorous antiphonal exchanges between the two choirs in the two most wordy movements – the Gloria and the Credo.

from notes by Jon Dixon © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Victoria: Ave regina caelorum & other sacred music' (SACDA67479)
Victoria: Ave regina caelorum & other sacred music
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