Palestrina Volume 9
Harry Christophers & The Sixteen
On the face of it, a mass based on a hexachord cantus firmus does not sound promising, yet you would have no idea from the flowing mellifluous lines in Missa Ut Re Mi fa sol la the second soprano is repeatedly tracing this stepwise movement, but there you have the genius of great counterpoint. After a somewhat tentative Kyrie, both Palestrina and these singers find new energy in the Gloria which is full of joyful homophonic textures with a strong rhythmic profile. Harry Christophers has an infinity for upper-voiced sections, and there is a lovely example in the Credo starting on Crucifixus etiam pro nobis.
[...] But perhaps the finest moments are in the motets from the Song of Songs which seem to catch Palestrina at his most sensuous. Those falling phrases in Descendi in hortum meum for instance are ravishing.
For the full text of this review please see Gramophone magazine (September 2023)