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Francisco Guerrero and Alonso Lobo, master and student provide the music sung here by the Sixteen under the direction of its founder, Harry Christophers. Guerrero was one of Spain’s leading 16th-century composers. He travelled widely, mainly to Italy but also to the Holy Land about which he later wrote in a popular account ‘El Viaje de Hierusalem’. Most of his life was spent in Seville where he served eventually as maestro de capilla at the cathedral. Lobo assisted him there, as well as learning from him before being appointed maestro de capilla of Toledo Cathedral. Five years after Guerrero’s death in 1599 Lobo returned to Seville assuming the title and duties of his mentor.

The Sixteen’s rewarding and often unfamiliar programme begins with Guerrero’s luminous 12-voice setting of the ‘Duo Seraphim’ text. This piece, his tenderly expressive ‘Maria Magdalene’ motet and the two Agnus Dei from his ‘Missa Congratulamini mihi’ are among the most glorious sounding in an uninterrupted sequence of music which deserves to be better known. As so often Christophers and the Sixteen prove to be the most persuasive advocates imaginable. Polyphonic textures are well nourished, unfailingly transparent and with extended phrases shaped confidently and eloquently. A commendably helpful essay by Martyn Imrie sets the seal on an outstanding release, beautifully recorded and scintillatingly sung. Vivant Sedecim!

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica


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