4 Dec 2022
Cristo: Magnificat, Marian Antiphons & Missa Salve regina
Cupertinos, Luís Toscano
It is a deep pleasure to hear this ensemble flourish. Since winning the 2019 Gramophone early music award 2009 it has become increasingly obvious that the singers of Cupertinos and their musicologist-director Luís Toscano have a unique take on the golden age of Portuguese polyphony, and this is only further strengthened by this new release of Marian works by the extraordinarily under-recorded Pedro de Cristo (c.1550-1618). But this disc is much more than a programme of musical treasures, it is also a milestone for Cupertinos: the arrival of a more confident, robust sound and, crucially, new-found rhythmic drive.
One of the strongest points about this ensemble is their balance of inner voices—altos sounding consistently strong in their lower ranges and tenors spinning light, untroubled top notes—it’s hard to tell which is which at times and this strong core to their sound is part of their confident persona – in the 4vv Missa Salve Regina the equal pitch entries on Et iterum venturus est repeatedly hit their mark with the insistence of a darts champion. This core also stabilises the sopranos' pretty flutter and balances the rich basses. I could go on. As if the musicological discoveries were not enough, I’m now quite bewitched by this glorious, Iberian sound world.
To read the full text of this review please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (December 2022)