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The Golden Age - Siglo de Oro
King JOHN IV of Portugal (1604-56)
Crux fidelis
Cristóbal de MORALES (ca.1500-53)
Kyrie (Mass Mille Regretz)
Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611)
Versa est in luctum
Diogo Dias MELGAS (1638-1700)
In ieiunio et fletu
Sebastián de VIVANCO (ca.1550-1622)
Versa est in luctum
Juan Gutiérrez de PADILLA (ca.1590-1664)
Versa est in luctum [3.24]
Diogo Dias MELGAS
Pia et dolorosa mater
Alonso LOBO (1555-1617)
Versa est in luctum [5.03]
Libera me [8.44]
The King’s Singers (David Hurley, Robin Tyson, Paul Phoenix, Philip Lawson, Christopher Gabbitas, Stephen Connolly)
rec. St. Andrew’s Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, 30 May – 2 June 2007. DDD
SIGNUM SIGCD119 [64:31]
Experience Classicsonline

In Siglo De Oro, the famed King’s Singers present music from Spain, Portugal and South America from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Siglo de Oro refers to the “Golden Age” of music-making in the Hispanic world at that time. It was an age when composers created incredibly rich and beautiful sound-worlds, of mainly deep and intense mourning, but also of great spiritual joy.
The disc commences with a tenderly sung version of Crux fidelis by King John IV of Portugal – a musician, composer and patron. It works well as the opening piece, and is often used a Processional in King’s Singers concerts. The lyrical Kyrie from Cristóbal de Morales’s Mass Mille Regretz follows, before Tomas Luis de Victoria’s Versa est in luctum, published in 1605. Victoria is probably the best known composer on the disc, but it also features three other settings of the same text – a lugubrious verse of lamentation from the Book of Job. These are by Sebastian de Vivanco, the maestro de capilla at Avila, and later at Salamanca (where he taught at the University), an intimate setting by the Spanish-born Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (who later moved to Mexico), and a plaintive rendition by Alonso Lobo, the latter most likely composed for Philip II’s funeral in 1598. Lobo is well represented here, with his touching Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah (for Holy Saturday), and the glorious Libera Me, which closes the disc. The final composer featured is Diogo Dias Melgas, mestre da capela at Evora cathedral, whose mournful In ieiunio et fletu and precatory Pia et dolorosa mater are featured.
What we have here is singing of the very highest order – superb intonation, ensemble performance, and communication of emotion. The works are deeply melancholic, and the King’s Singers perform with tremendous intensity, making a deeply moving anthology. Their soaring, beautifully blending voices have a richness and smooth sonority that is amplified by the resonant acoustic of the superbly chosen venue of St Andrew’s Church, Toddington. A splendid uplifting disc.
Em Marshall


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