A new recording from Westminster Cathedral features the gentlemen of their choir in a fascinating programme which brings to life the musical and liturgical traditions of this foundation.
This recording by the lay clerks of Westminster Cathedral presents a full choral, and instrumental, celebration of Mass for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which falls on 15 August. It is based on music by two major composers, Tomás Luis de Victoria and Girolamo Frescobaldi. Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus provides the central feature of an elaborate liturgical sequence in which other music—including motets by Victoria, Mass Propers and other passages of chant, and organ music by Frescobaldi in several forms—is interpolated between the movements of the Mass Ordinary. This festive celebration of Mass is intended not as a reconstruction of a known occasion in the early seventeenth century, but as a sort of musical offering that illustrates the complex liturgical structures becoming available in a period when the resources for the enrichment of the liturgy were growing steadily.