Tomás Luis de Victoria: Officium Defunctorum

“Magnificat blend beautifully in this hypnotic recording of de Victoria’s ‘Mass for the Dead’.”

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BBC Music

…The Magnificat ensemble is also stunning. Despite the intonation challenge of singing two-to-a-part, their 13 mixed voices blend as if a single instrument. This particularly suits the stately pace of Victoria’s Mass for the Dead, chords melting seamlessly into the next.

The Mass is put into the context of the complete Office, with opening and closing motets and plainchant, here sung in the measured note-values which some scholarship supports. the result is an almost constant pulse throughout the 52 minutes: a hypnotically gripping experience.

Rough Guide 100 Essential Classical CDs

Victoria’s Masterpiece has had several find recordings – what’s special about this one is its sonic purity. Light but incisive women’s voices are used for the two upper parts (only male singers would have been used originally) and all the voices combine with an airy transparency in a resonant but warm acoustic. The performance is expressive without ever being forced, changes of mood in the different sections of the Libera me are conveyed through subtle, rather than dramatic, changes of dynamics. A sense of the original liturgical context is provided by appropriate plainsong, which is here sung in a manner that makes it sound of a piece with the polyphony.

Gramophone – ‘Soundings’

Linn Records, the specialist division of the famous Scottish hi-fi manufacturer have been quietly building up an impressive catalogue of recordings over the years.
Their tastes are wide and catholic and the recordings routinely excellent. Typically well-concieved is the Victoria Officium Defunctorum of 1605 from the choral group Magnificat. Working in the fine acoustic of St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, North London engineer Philip Hobbs has achieved a lovely balance, with a very true-sounding tonal palette.

The image is set fairly well back but no detail is submerged and the whole canvas is very well integrated, very plausible.

View Track List

1. Taedet animam meam (3:08)
2. Ego sum resurrectio (0:45)
3. Benedictus Dominus Deus (3:59)
4. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (5:41)
5. Kyrie eleison (2:19)
6. Graduale: Requiem aeternam (3:42)
7. Offertorium: Domine Iesu Christe (6:57)
8. Sanctus (3:10)
9. Agnus Dei (3:03)
10. Communio: Lux aeterna (4:06)
11. Motectum: Versa est in luctum (3:57)
12. Absolutio: Libera me (9:08)

Running time: 49:55 Mins