Requiem aeternam [2.23]
Ples de tristor [7.01]
Misa de Barcelona Kyrie [4.46]
Audi Pontus, audi tellus [4.31]
De profundis [3.39]
Sol eclypsim patitur [5.44]
Dies Irae [10.01]
Clangam, filii [5.08]
Domine Iesu Christe [4.14]
Mentem meam ledit dolor [3.22]
Misa de Notre-Dame de Kernascléden - Sanctus [3.22]
Media vita in morte sumus [6.45]
Agnus Dei [4.31]
Ir tanczer und spranczer [4.44]
Lux aeterna [1.08]
In paradisum [2.05]
Capella de Ministrers, L’Almondi Cor de Cambra/Carles Magraner
Elisa Franzetti (soprano), Gabriel Diaz (counter-tenor), Miguel Bernal (tenor), Tomas Maxe (bass)
rec. 2-3, 10 November 2014, Capella de la Sapiencia del Centre Cultural La Nau, University of Valencia

This is an attractively produced set – well, if one may call a disc that bears on its cover the image of a perforated hand attractive. The booklet forms part of a sturdy cardboard case, keeping all together. One is immediately impressed by what appears to be good presentation and carefully-chosen artwork.

The notes at once introduce the world of banquets held for royalty, and are full of the subjects of sermons in the thirteenth centuries, of the mediaeval preoccupation with death and of the ray of hope brought by the fifteenth century Vincent Ferrer in his popular sermons. They give us a good glimpse into the occasions on which such music as presented here would have been performed and written, but don’t really give us information in any great detail whatsoever on the works themselves, or the composers at all; They aren't even mentioned in the track-listings. The listener therefore has to delve very deeply into the fairly dense notes to find out even the name of the composer of a work – which is hard work, and certainly doesn’t invite casual interest. Another small grouse about the booklet is that the printed ink starts failing halfway through, resulting in a booklet that is half in black text and the other half in a barely legible grey.

The works included range from a Dies Irae, Requiem aeternam and De profundis to a Lux aeterna and In paradisum. The music-making is of a very high standard and performances are very civilised and pretty, elegant, polite and rather mannered. Phrases in particular are nicely-shaped. This makes for pleasant and smooth listening – but one does rather wonder if this is representative of the performances that such pieces would have received.

Further background information can be found at the website of Capella de Ministrers.

Em Marshall-Luck
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