Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Guerrero, Victoria and Morales together comprise the triumvirate at the pinnacle of the Spanish Renaissance, and of these Guerrero was without doubt the most highly respected in his time.
Missa Sancta et immaculata comes from his first published collection of Masses (1566) and takes its theme from Morales's motet Sancta et immaculata virginitas ('Holy and immaculate virginity'). Guerrero expands the original four-part texture to include a second soprano line, and the resultant shimmering texture marks this out to be a truly remarkable Mass. This is its first recording.
Two motets, a Magnificat setting, and three Vesper hymns complete this recording, the latter works beginning a long-overdue exploration of the wealth of Hispanic melody, a unique treasury in the chant repertoire. Lauda mater ecclesia is an extraordinary work setting a—somewhat smutty—text (now removed from the liturgy) in honour of Mary Magdalen.