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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Change
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This is a disc of two very fine mass settings by Victoria, plus a setting of Salve Regina and the motet Surge Propera by Palestrina on which the second of the masses is based. They are lovely works by one of the Renaissances great composers, full of intense spirituality and wonderful harmonic invention. I love Victoria's music and it is very good to have these two masses available on disc.

The performances are very good, too. Westminster Cathedral are a world-class choir with a large and distinguished discography behind them. The reservation which leads me to give this four stars rather than five is purely personal: I often find the sound of larger chapel and cathedral choirs a little inflexible and impersonal. I prefer the more intimate and flexible sound a smaller choir because I find that discs like this, however wonderful the music, can begin to find a little samey after a while and for me this applies here. The larger choir combined with the very resonant acoustic of Westminster Cathedral makes the choir sound rather distant and detached which I find robs the music of some of its real impact.

Hyperion's presentation is, as always, very good and the notes are scholarly and detailed. Personally, I prefer recordings by ensembles like The Tallis Scholars (eg Victoria: Lamentations/ Padilla: Lamentations) or The Gabrieli Consort (eg Victoria: Requiem (Officium Defunctorum, 1605)), but this is purely a matter of personal taste. Plenty of people disagree with me, so please don't let me put you off. The performance is excellent of its kind and if you like the sound of a cathedral choir you can't go wrong here.
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on 7 June 2013
Superb singing , beautifully recorded and produced, the best church choir in the world in a wonderful acoustic - what more do you want?
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