Pater Peccavi

PATER PECCAVI,  Music of Lamentation from Renaissance Portugal
Works by Manuel Cardoso, Estevao Lopes Morago etc.
The Marian Consort / Rory McCleery.
Delphian DCD 34205

This exquisite late renaissance Portuguese polyphonic repertoire is as richly expressive as it is politically poised. Written under the rule of the Spanish Habsburgs from 1580-1640 works by Duarte Lobo (ca.1565-1646) & Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650) are frequently drawn towards texts of mourning and lamentation as they long for an end to foreign rule and yearn for the restoration of a Portuguese monarchy. All this becomes more stylistically vivid when we note both composers outlived Monteverdi, albeit only slightly.


The premiere recording of Lobo’s Missa Veni Domine forms the backbone to the programme. A parody/imitation work drawing on a motet by Palestrina, Rory McCleery explains potential Sebastianist connections with this text in his sleeve notes (the hoped for return of King Sebastian lost in a military campaign of 1578). I love this performance, full of energy and highly responsive to the text. The Sanctus and Benedictus in particular shows the flexibility of this ensemble in responding to different textures. The album highlight for me, however, is Circumdederunt me, a setting of a funeral text by Aires Fernandez. Here the phrases reach upwards and overlap in great arches which the singers perform with a yearning intensity which is just exquisite.

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