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Hyperion Records

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Philip II of Spain by Anthonis (Antonio Moro) Mor (c1517/21-c1576-7)
Prado, Madrid / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55340
Recording details: June 1998
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: April 1999
Total duration: 8 minutes 31 seconds

'Anniversary CD of the year—and my personal favourite' (Gramophone)

'James O'Donnell and the Westminster Choir have surely come up with another stunning winner. Hyperion and all involved in this record deserve a very special accolade' (Choir & Organ)

'These performances show that Guerrero deserves his anniversary celebration' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A very important disc' (Early Music Review)

'A marvellously varied disc. More please' (Early Music)

'This is massive music, a broad rich landscape of astonishing power and beauty' (Classical Express)

'Una estupenda interpretación. Es un gran homenaje para un gran centenario' (Scherzo, Spain)

Pange lingua gloriosi
author of text
Hymn at Vespers of Corpus Christi

Guerrero published twenty-three sets of hymn verses intended for alternation with the simple chant melodies. Some of these match plainchant, some go with mensural versions of traditional tunes, and yet others are upon new tunes (originating in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) that were exclusively Iberian and found almost always in mensural notation, rarely in plain form. The Spanish Pange lingua is one of these; it appears in hundreds of printed and manuscript books for some four hundred years or more. It was set in polyphonic guise from the late 1400s and became a favourite for organ versets. Apart from its function as an Office Hymn on the Feast of Corpus Christi, it was widely used in processions of the Blessed Sacrament.

Guerrero’s setting slows the melody so that it becomes a structural girder, still clearly heard, its steady pace being set off by the rapid counterpoint of the accompanying voices. The tune is passed from treble to tenor, from the top of the music eventually to the bottom in verse 4. By setting the fifth verse, breaking the alternation, Guerrero sticks to an old Spanish custom of making a specially solemn version of ‘Tantum ergo sacramentum’. Here the music changes pace in duple rather than triple time, though Guerrero still contrives, at first, to give the tune its long–short–long values.

from notes by Bruno Turner ę 1999

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