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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: 28 minutes 57 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)

Missa De la batalla escoutez
1582; 5vv; Missarum liber secundus; after Janequin's La guerre 'La bataille de Marignan' of 1528
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie  [3'18] GreekEnglish
Gloria  [5'38] LatinEnglish
Credo  [8'25] LatinEnglish

Of Guerrero’s nineteen Masses only three are based on themes of secular origin, the present one being modelled on a few passages from Janequin’s popular chanson La guerre, sometimes known as La bataille de Marignan; the battle at Marignano was fought in 1515 and the chanson was printed in 1528. Guerrero’s Mass came out in his Missarum Liber Secundus, printed in Rome in 1582. Its odd title refers in Spanish to the battle, adding the French ‘escoutez’, the first word of Janequin’s chanson. At the end of the century, Victoria used this graphic battle-piece as material for his own Missa Pro Victoria, creating a very lively work. Guerrero’s setting is more circumspect, sober in contrast with Victoria’s and Janequin’s own, rather literal, ‘parody’ Mass. It seems that Guerrero had no intention to be spectacular in the manner of the original, nor in the way that battle Masses and organ ‘battles’ became riotously Baroque in the following centuries.

It is best for the listener to forget the origins of Guerrero’s themes and accept his masterly work for its intrinsic beauty and vigour. Written for five voices (SSATB), the Mass has subsections for trios at ‘Domine Deus, agnus Dei’ in the Gloria and for the Benedictus (SSA and SAB, respectively); in the Credo, ‘Crucifixus …’ is for a quartet (SSAT). The second Agnus Dei calls for eight voices, but not as a ‘call and answer’ double choir. Variety is also introduced by the use of that swinging triple time which the Spaniards called tiempo de proporción (sesquialtera) in the second Kyrie and in the Osanna sections after the Sanctus and Benedictus.

from notes by Bruno Turner ę 1999

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