Magnificat was formed in 1991 by its conductor, Philip Cave, to explore the rich diversity of choral music from the last five centuries. The ensemble specializes in the restoration and performance of neglected choral masterpieces with particular emphasis on music from post-Reformation England and from late 16th century Spain. Their new recording of Latin sacred music by Robert Parsons, Robert White and William Byrd (Linn Records CKD417) includes a number of paired settings ranging from the simple homophonic style of Byrd’s Christe qui lux to the rich, plangent polyphony of White’s beautiful Lamentations for five voices.
Magnificat recently released its third recording celebrating the 450th anniversary of composer Philippe Rogier: Music from the Missae Sex offers the first complete recordings of both the Missa Inclita stirps Jesse and the Missa Philippus Secundus Rex Hispaniae. Two previous recordings of music by Rogier on Linn feature the Missa Ego sum qui sum and the Missa Domine Dominus noster. The latter recording, accompanied by His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, casts new light on the Spanish polychoral tradition, including the premiere recording of Rogier’s rediscovered 12-part motet Domine, Dominus noster.
Other recordings of music from ‘The Golden Age’ include an album of motets by Gesualdo, Guerrero, Josquin, Rebelo and Victoria together with Allegri’s Miserere and Palestrina’s Stabat mater, a highly acclaimed recording of Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum of 1605, and an album of Palestrina’s twenty-nine motets from the Song of Songs. Magnificat’s recording of Thomas Tallis’ forty-part motet Spem in alium was hailed as ‘quite the best recording’ by Gramophone. The album also includes the four-part Mass and Latin motets, and was selected as BBC Radio 3’s recommended performance of Tallis’ Lamentations.