Roma Æterna

New York Polyphony
72:07
BIS-2203 SACD
Guerrero: Regina cæli; Palestrina: Missa Papæ Marcelli, Tu es Petrus, Gaudent in cœlis, Sicut cervus/Sitivit anima mea; Victoria: Missa O quam gloriosum, Gaudent in cœlis

What a lovely issue! New York Polyphony are an immensely polished and professional ensemble. They bring their considerable talents here to a programme of Renaissance favourites, combining Palestrina’s evergreen Missa Papae Marcelli  with his Tu es Petrus, Gaudent in cœlis  and Sicut cervus  (with its less-frequently performed secunda pars, Sitivit anima mea). The remainder of the disc is devoted to Victoria’s Missa O Quam Gloriosum, along with his setting of Gaudent in cœlis.

Despite the title, the disc begins in Seville, with a typically mellifluous (and lesser-known) Regina cæli  for four voices by Guerrero. Tone, blend and performance are all exemplary – try the glorious ‘Amen’ at the end of the Papæ Marcelli  Credo, for example, and wonder anew at Palestrina’s absolute polyphonic mastery. The recital was recorded in the suitably resonant surroundings of Omaha’s St Cecila Cathedral – allowing the many perfectly tuned final chords to linger for one’s ongoing delectation. The performance is completed and complemented by Ivan Moody’s scholarly and exemplary notes.

Alistair Harper