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Guerrero – Battle Mass

Pange lingua gloriosi; In exitu Israel; Duo Seraphim clamabant; Regina caeli laetare; Magnificat octavi toni; Conditor alme siderum


The Choir of Westminster Cathedral

His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts

James O’Donnell – The Master of Music


Helios – CDH55340 – 1CD – 72 mins

Recorded June 1998



Guerrero’s music represents the high point of the Spanish Baroque movement as is ably demonstrated here.   His somewhat misleadingly named Missa De La Batalla escoutez has been showcased as the title piece for the CD, suitably as it occupies close to half of the playing time.   Whilst it lacks the triumphal and spectacular sound effects that were common in those days, it is a work of enormous strength, inner calm and beauty which becomes more satisfying with repeated listening.


However, it In exitu Israel that is the real showpiece.  It is a psalm that turns up infrequently in the musical cannon, and this setting by Guerrero is a work of immense originality with his treatment of the chant alternating and evolving throughout the fifteen verse sequence.  It is a real gem, which sets this CD outside the normal rank.


Performance by the Westminster Choir, lightly accompanied by the instrumentalists of His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, and under the direction of James O’Donnell is almost faultless.


In line with Hyperion’s high standards, the accompanying leaflet contains full notes, texts and translations.   An important recording, greeted with considerable critical acclaim when originally issued (Hyperion CDA67075), it is no less impressive at its re-issue.


Serena Fenwick