Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Cæli porta - 17th-century sacred music from Lisbon and Granada

The Choir of The Queen’s College Oxford
Charlotte Philips organ - Owen Rees director

GUILD GMCD 7323 - TRACK LISTING and liner notes

Something different for Christmas. Beautiful choral music from Portugal's golden age, by composers you mostly won't know.

The centre piece is Lobo's 4 part Missa de beata virgine Maria, "concise, colourful, flexible & dynamic" writes Owen Rees, Director of Music at Queen's College, a specialist who regularly runs choral workshops in Portugal.

The choir has a youthful, eager tone quality and all the solos are well taken. Full texts are provided, and every participant is named, making the disc a fine memento for the singers and their families.

Thorough documentation includes a really interesting 8-page essay by Rees, who tells us all about Lobo, Pedro de Cristo, Manuel de Aviles etc - you can read it all on line and hear some samples, which is better than having me paraphrasing the text, and you having to take on trust the singing by these students (who presumably are studying a variety of subjects other than music).

This practice should become widespread to combat the chief objection to downloading recordings, which usually become separated from the associated information which is indispensable. It also meets one of my main gripes about insert booklets, that when information is comprehensive it often becomes unreadable; on line you can match text to your own eyesight. [Guild, though, does not seem to be selling by downloading yet?]

The recording is vivid and this disc stands out amongst the flood sent for review every December.

Peter Grahame Woolf