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Victoria Laments

available at Amazon
Victoria, Lamentations of Jeremiah,
Tallis Scholars

(released on March 9, 2010)
Gimell CDGIM 043 | 64'08"
We have sung the praises of the recordings of the Tallis Scholars many times before, especially the ones from the golden age of their sound. Musical settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah are a recurring topic here this year, to which we now add Victoria's settings of these texts for the Triduum, published as part of his large collection of polyphony for Holy Week. It is not particularly ornate music, like much of what Victoria composed, in a largely homophonic style, with bits of polyphonic imitation here and there, both austere and colored by unusual dissonance. The only gesture of ornamental flourish is that the composer includes alternate versions of the refrain at the end of each grouping ("Jerusalem, Jerusalem"), one for the same number of voices as the rest of the score, which varies from group to group, and another with an added voice (the Tallis Scholars record all of them, for completeness's sake). Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611) is another composer who will celebrate a major anniversary next year, the 400th of his death, and we may certainly expect some performances of his Requiem Mass and motets. The Lamentations lessons and responsories of Holy Week will hopefully make an appearance next year, too. This is a beautifully sung recording, filled out with another setting of a Lamentations reading, by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. The only widely available competition is also very good, an older recording by The Sixteen, of all nine of Victoria's Lamentations settings, plus two of the composer's other motets for Holy Week.

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