While today it is generally accepted that Tomás Luis de Victoria was the greatest composer in Spain during the Renaissance, this was not the widespread opinion during his day. This distinction fell to Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), maestro de capilla at the splendid Cathedral of Seville for forty-five years where he produced an enormous volume of masses, motets and other liturgical pieces. Guerrero's music was printed and, along with his reputation, spread to some of the farthest regions of Spanish influence at the time. This Glossa CD contains what is considered to be among Guerrero's most magnificent achievements, his Requiem Mass.
If you are one for whom the presence of plainchant is reason to pass on a recording, be aware that on this 78 minute program, there are over 15 minutes of chant. The recording sets out to recreate the Requiem Mass and Burial Service celebrated for Guerrero at the Seville Cathedral in 1599, including the readings, which at this time, were chanted.
Similar to other luminaries of the renaissance - Victoria, Palestrina and Lassus - Guerrero's music is polyphonic and imitative, although his textures tend to be somewhat more homophonic. He was able to exhibit an impressive range of moods and emotions in his music. Listen to our recorded excerpt to hear how beautiful it is.
Performances are by the Orchestra of the Renaissance, a group of nine singers and as many instrumentalists performing on cornetts, shawms and sackbuts. Richard Cheetham is their director and performances are superlative. The quality of the recording is up to Glossa's usual uncompromising standards.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Francisco Guerrero, Michael Noone conducted the Orchestra of the Renaissance in this recording of the composer’s 1582 Requiem, in a liturgical reconstruction performed as it might have been at Guerrero’s own funeral in Seville Cathedral in November 1599. This was quickly followed by three more award winning recordings for Glossa in which Michael again conducted the vocal and instrumental forces of the Orchestra of the Renaissance. The singing is superb.
Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599) was a Spanish composer of the Renaissance. Guerrero’s music was both sacred and secular, unlike that of Victoria and Morales, the two other Spanish 16th century composers of the first rank. He wrote numerous secular songs and instrumental pieces, in addition to masses, motets, and Passions. He was able to capture an astonishing variety of moods in his music, from ecstasy to despair, longing, joy, and devotional stillness.
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Francisco Guerrero: Missa Pro Defunctis - "Tract: Absolve, Domine"