Guerrero: Missa L'Homme Armé, etc - review

Ensemble La Sestina/Giardina
(Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

Francisco Guerrero composed 19 masses, but only one of them, the Missa L'Homme Armé, based on the medieval song that provided inspiration to generations of composers from Machaut onwards, was scored for high voices only, with two soprano lines, alto and tenor. Based upon Morales's five-mass of the same name and shorter and more straightforward than Guerrero's other mass settings, it probably dates from his youth in the mid 1540s, and perhaps for that reason and because of its unusual scoring, it was never published in his lifetime. La Sestina's recording, the first apparently, interweaves the movements with a selection of Guerrero's motets, including the glorious Gabriel Archangelus and Sancta et Immaculata, as well as some of his sacred canciones and villanescas, which use Spanish texts and seem strikingly different from his hieratically beautiful Latin settings. La Sestina are a hugely accomplished group, but the rather warm, close recording does their rapt singing no favours. The effect is almost too cosy; music of this grandeur seems to demand more space and detachment.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Guerrero: Missa Congratulamini Mihi, etc
The outstanding group The Cardinall's Musick play at their usual high standard on this album of Francisco Guerrero's Easter-themed mass settings, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

05, Aug, 2010 @10:15 PM

CD: Guerrero: Missa Surge Propera; Motets

(Gimmel)

Andrew Clements

09, Dec, 2005 @1:47 AM

Classical review: Janequin: La Guerre; Guerrero: Missa de la Batalla Escoutez

Francisco Guerrero's reputation as a great composer of Spain's golden age is gradually emerging

Andrew Clements

27, Mar, 2009 @12:07 AM

Victoria: Missa de Beata Maria Virgine; Missa Surge Propera etc – review
The Westminster Cathedral Choir's contribution to the recent Victoria-fest isn't very distinctive, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Dec, 2011 @10:45 PM

JC Bach: Missa da Requiem; Miserere – review
Listen out for the Miserere, with its grand, imposing scale and carefully plotted tonal architecture, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

20, Oct, 2011 @8:00 PM

Article image
CD: Guerrero: Missa Super Flumina Babylonis; etc, Ensemble Plus Ultra/ Schola Antiqua/His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts/Noone

(Glossa)

Andrew Clements

18, Oct, 2007 @11:13 PM

Josquin: Missa De Beata Virgine; Missa Ave Maris Stella; Credo Quarti Toni Tallis Scholars/Phillips: review
There are moments when the Tallis Scholars' beautifully shaped performances of Josquin des Prés's two great works seem almost too seraphic, too smooth, but it's a minor quibble, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

27, Oct, 2011 @9:30 PM

Clemens non Papa: Missa Pro Defunctis; Penitential Motets – review
The lack of Italianate influence makes the music sometimes rather austere, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

27, Jan, 2011 @10:18 PM

Article image
CD: Josquin: Missa Sine Nomine; Missa Ad Fugam

(Gimell)

Andrew Clements

11, Apr, 2008 @8:49 AM

Willaert: Missa Mente Tota; Motets, etc | Classical CD review
This is an immaculately realised sequence, sung with simple directness by the six male voices of Cinquecento, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Jul, 2010 @9:40 PM