Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International
January 2015

[The present album] contains a selection of the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). If you painted me into a corner and forced me to choose between Victoria and Palestrina, I’d have to choose the former, much as I love the latter. If I could have just one Victoria recording on my Desert Island, this, from Westminster Cathedral Choir directed by Martin Baker with Robert Quinney (organ) would be very high on the list.

The motet Ave Regina Cœlorum [4:34] introduces the 8-part Mass of the same name [19:37]. The other major work is the 4-part Magnificat septimi toni [10:09] and the programme concludes with the 8-part Ave Maria [4:15]. Like the two following recordings—of Monteverdi and Araujo—this is music that will transport you to a higher plane.

Many years ago I heard Victoria mangled at High Mass in Toledo Cathedral. I’m sure they have improved since then, but they would need to have improved an awful lot to compete with Martin Baker and his choristers. I rated this recording, as a 16-bit download, more highly than a (strong) competitor from Festina Lente on the Dynamic label—Download Roundup September 2011/1.