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Requiem: Musiques pour les Funérailles Royales Espagnoles
Manuel CORREA (1600-1653)
Commisa mea pavesco (instrumental)
Francisco GUERREO (15028-1599)
Hei mihi, Domine
Miguel Juan MARQUÉS (16??-16??)
Versa est in luctum (premiere recording)
Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548-1611)
Requiem (1605)
O sacrum convivium
Alonso LOBO (c. 1555-1617)
Vesra est in luctum
Matteo ROMERO (c.1575-1647)
Libera me
Carlos PATIÑO (1600-1675)
Taedet animan meam ()
La Maîtrise de Toulouse, Les Sacqueboutiers/Mark Opstad
rec. 2019, Salinic Temple, Toulouse
Premiere recordings: Marqués, Patiño
REGENT REGCD551 [61:34]

Here is a rather new experience amongst early baroque choral CDs. The concept has been based on contemporary accounts of Spanish funeral masses during the early 1600s. Choral polyphony was augmented by many instruments that embellish the musical pallete. In this version, the chorus Les Maîtrise de Toulouse has a group of young girls to substitute for the adults in the soprano lines. The rest of the adult choir are joined by a brass and wind ensemble Les Sacqueboutiers.

The centerpiece of this recording is the 1605 Requiem by Tomás Luis de Victoria, which he composed for the 1603 funeral of his patron Empress Maria of Austria. This is surely one of the most original-sounding versions of this music on any commercial recording. Victoria’s Requiem has been described as the most elegant requiem in the repertoire. This performance projects a choral soundscape of a mildly buoyant polyphony, which I believe is due to the lighter sound of the girls’ chorus. This is blended with a tonal presence coming from the instrumentalists added to the gentle counterpoint of the organ. It is all very refreshing, and in no way sounds out of place. (Musical purists may resist this approach.)

Alongside the Requiem, we have various pieces composed for royal burials in the 16th and 17th centuries. Two of the tracks are adapted for instrumental ensemble alone. In the case of the Marqués’s work, it is a world premiere recording.

Director Mark Opstad handles his forces expertly, and the recording quality is top-notch. The engineers have conveyed a lovely bloom to the acoustic space of the Salinic Temple of Toulouse, a 13th century structure built as a Royal treasury for Louis XI. On this occasion at least, it is home to musical riches that are worthy of investigation. A well-produced booklet accompanies the CD.

Mike Parr

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