24 Aug 2020
The Call of Rome
The Sixteen, Harry Christophers
Coro F COR16178
The draw of Italy for mid sixteenth century northern European composers – oltremontani - ‘those from the other side of the alps’ and their eventual succession by Italian composers is a well explored program, yet here Harry Christophers includes several lesser known works to mark the 20th anniversary of The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage.
Opening with Victoria’s (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday the singing is characteristically clear and impassioned with the solo quintet particularly vivid and gripping in O Vos Omnes: ‘Look, all you peoples,/ And see my sorrow.’ Interlacing this programme are motets by Josquin (1452-1521) which create a few sudden chronological shifts much softened by assured performances. Pater Noster / Ave Maria is surely one of Josquin’s best and this rich six-voice setting flows beautifully on this album. Impressive too is Illibata Dei virgo, in which an acrostic embeds Josquin’s own name. The balance of controlled, flowing duets with nimble passagework is delightful.
To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Sept 2020)