Coro Victoria, Ana Fernández-Vega
Brilliant Classics 95789
Any recording devoted to the music of the Spanish master, Alonso Lobo is very welcome. A pupil of Guerrero and a colleague of Victoria, Alonso Lobo de Borja managed to plough a distinctly individual furrow through the occasionally slightly featureless world of Spanish Renaissance polyphony. I was reminded of this during a recent recital by the Dunedin Consort, where the music of Lobo stood out as amongst the most impressive polyphony of the evening. The Coro Victoria perform a number of Lobo’s motets as well as movements from three different settings of the Mass: O Rex Gloriae, Petre, ego pro te rogavi and Simile est regnum caelorum. Some of the material – the eight-part Ave Maria, the lovely Ego flos campi and the concluding O quam suavis are already familiar, but much of the material, including the Mass settings, were new to me all thoroughly endorsing the high opinion I already have of the composer. The performances by the Coro Victoria directed by Ana Fernández-Vega are almost very good – much could have been improved by simply exploiting more effectively the acoustic of the Basilica Pontificia of San Miguel in Madrid. The recording is a little too close and a little unforgiving – judging by the after-bloom, this is a building with a pleasant ambience which could have been used to make the recording sound a little more comfortable. Having said that, this budget CD has a very engaging cross-section of Lobo’s music and the singing is perfectly adequate and never less than passionate and expressive.
D. James Ross