Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Francisco de PEÑALOSA (c.1470 – 1528)
Missa Ave Maria peregrina [34.59]
Sacris solemniis [6.14]
Missa Nunca fue pena mayor [24.47]
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral/James O’Donnell
rec. 30 June–3 July 1992, Westminster Cathedral

Experience Classicsonline

This terrific disc was first issued by Hyperion in 1993 and is now on their budget price label Helios. Under James O’Donnell, Westminster Cathedral Choir is at the peak of its form in Spanish music from the Golden Age.

Peñalosa is still not a common name on CD sleeves which makes the disc’s outstanding advocacy all the more welcome. His career spanned the conquest of Granada and the expulsion of the Moors, the discovery of the New World and the unification of the Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile under the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella. It was the time when Spanish composers started to challenge the dominance of the Flemish style in polyphony. He was the most important figure among of this first generation of composers before Morales.

He started in 1498 as a singer in Ferdinand of Aragon’s chapel and began a long association with Seville cathedral in 1505. He spent time in Rome from 1517 to 1525; but seems to have only sung, no music has been preserved from this period. Most of his surviving pieces come from manuscripts originating in the Aragonese Royal Chapel.

His Missa Ave Maria peregrina uses the plainchant Ave Maria, but also parts of the Salve Regina which is sung by the tenor in the Sanctus and Hosanna. The mass is for four voices but in the final Agnus Dei, Peñalosa uses five and bases the movement on the secular chanson De tous biens plaine and parts of the Salve Regina. The two voices singing these are surrounded by strong counterpoint in a dazzling construction.

Missa Nunca fue pena mayor is a shorter mass, lacking a Benedictus and with only one Agnus Dei. It is based on a three-voiced villancico by the Flemish composer Johannes Wreede who had been a singer in the Aragonese Royal Chapel.

The programme is completed by Peñalosa’s Corpus Christi hymn Sacris Solemniis. Only one version of Peñalosa’s setting survives so here it is sung in the editor Bruno Turner’s reconstruction alternating polyphony with the popular melody that was used in Spain in the period. This makes a remarkable contrast for those of us used to hearing plainchant.

The performances bring out the full vibrancy of the music the intensity which has echoes of later Spanish composers like Vittoria. There is a brilliant, upfront feel to the performance which has a strongly non-English, almost Mediterranean feel. It helps that the choir sing with a top line provided by their trebles with the choir’s familiar full-throated sound. There are some moments, such as the Kyrie of Missa Ave Maria peregrina, when I did wonder whether the trebles might not be a little too intensely dominant, that the inner lines could have been given more prominence. This is a small point.

Given the vibrant and involving performances, this disc is intensely seductive. Many people will have the disc already, but if you don’t then buy it without hesitation.

Robert Hugill


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

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.