One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Tomás Luis DE VICTORIA (1548-1611)
Et Iesum - Motets, Antiphons and Mass parts

Et Iesum [01:57]
Duo Seraphim clamabant* [03:27]
O Decus Apostolicum [02:53]
Missa Quam pulchri sunt: Domine (vihuela solo) [01:14]
Senex puerum portabat [03:00]
Magi viderunt stallam [03:17]
Domine, non sum dignus [03:20]
Domine, non sum dignus (vihuela solo) [04:25]
O magnum mysterium [03:11]
Missa O magnum mysterium:
Sanctus* [01:55]
Benedictus* [01:51]
Agnus Dei* [01:34]
Ne timeas, Maria [03:38]
Missa Gaudeamus: Pleni sunt (lute solo) [01:29]
Iste Sanctus [02:09]
Estote fortes in bello* [02:32]
Alma redemptoris mater [05:55]
Missa Gaudeamus: Domine Deus (vihuela solo) [01:17]
O quam gloriosum [04:09]
Doctor bonus, amicus Dei [03:13]
Missa Quam pulchri sunt: Crucifixus (vihuela solo) [02:33]
Pueri Hebraeorum [02:37]
Salve Regina [04:11]
Carlos Mena, alto; Francisco Rubio Gallego, cornet (*); Juan Carlos Rivera, lute, vihuela
Recorded in October 2003 at Iglesia Parroquial Sant Corneli of Collbató, Barcelona, Spain DDD
HARMONIA MUNDI HMI 987042 [66:00]


It is taken for granted, but sometimes it is worth reminding ourselves just how lucky today's music lover is. He has access to all kinds of music, can go to concerts, buy records - and often he can even choose between several interpretations of his favourite pieces of music. Compare this with the 16th century: a lot of brilliant music was written, but how many people were able to hear it?

That some of the best music could be heard outside the churches or courts for which it was composed was due to the fact that it was adapted to be played on one or several musical instruments. In particular lute players were active in this field. Sometimes vocal pieces were performed by instruments alone, sometimes one vocal part was preserved while the other parts were set for one or more instruments. On this disc the music of one of the most important composers of sacred music around 1600, Tomás Luis de Victoria, is performed in adaptations for voice and lute, interspersed with some intavolations for lute or vihuela solo.

In the liner notes Pepe Rey refers to two contemporary sources which reflect this practice from which about a third of the pieces on the programme have been taken. The others have been created by the performers themselves, 'recreating' as it were the practice of Victoria's time.

One peculiar feature of this recording is the use of the cornet in some of the items. This seems a little out of place here, since the combination of voice and lute or vihuela is in particular appropriate for domestic performances, whereas the cornet is much more an instrument to be used in a church venue. In the items where the cornet is used - mainly where the upper part is too high for Carlos Mena's voice - the balance between the three participants isn't entirely satisfying.

If one knows the motets and mass sections recorded here in their original form - and some items on this disc are pretty well-known - one needs to get used to these 'reductions'. But it has to be said that the character of the originals is maintained quite well. And Carlos Mena seems to be well aware of the content of the pieces he sings. The exaltation of some of them comes through quite nicely, like the motet 'O magnum mysterium'. Although in general we don't find a very close relationship between text and music in Victoria's oeuvre - there are no madrigalisms of any kind - sometimes a line is eloquently illustrated in the music, like "certavit usque ad mortem" (strove even unto death) in the motet 'Iste Sanctus', where the upper part goes down quite deeply. Carlos Mena uses his chest register to great effect here.

This is a fine recording which sheds light on a wide-spread practice in the renaissance which hasn't been given much attention to.

Johan van Veen

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.