Carlos Mena / Juan Carlos Rivera

Et Jesum: Motets for Solo Voice by Tomás Luis de Victoria

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Et Jesum presents motets, antiphons, and mass sections by the Spanish Renaissance composer Tomás Luis de Victoria, arranged for countertenor voice and accompanying stringed instrument. Both the laud (the Spanish version of the lute) and the more guitar-like vihuela are used by accompanist Juan Carlos Rivera. Rivera and countertenor Carlos Mena, a youthful alumnus of the Savall school, augment arrangements of Victoria's day with efforts of their own in a similar vein, and it would take a deep specialist indeed to pick out the 400-year-old ones. Victoria's music was popular all over Europe, and arrangements of his choral music appeared in numerous anthologies of the time, intended for domestic music-making. Of course, those anthologies would have included music by other composers as well; performing 23 Victoria compositions in a row is not really "authentic." For the casual listener it's a bit much, but for devotees of the dark-hued, detailed, and hypnotically contemplative music of this devotional master of the Counter Reformation, this is a beautifully executed performance and a very productive way of approaching Victoria. Mena is a lush countertenor who can put a remarkable variety of tension points into a drawn-out long note, and Rivera's accompaniments are breathtakingly quiet and subtle. The use of the laud contradicts the traditional view that lutes were avoided in Renaissance Spain because of their Arabic associations, but is fully in line with the existence of Victoria lute arrangements originating in other countries. Several pieces are performed in solo laud or vihuela intabulations. Harmonia Mundi's engineers have notched a major accomplishment here, leaving in just enough performer breathing to give the music an almost tactile sense.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Salve regina, antiphon for 8 voices & organ
1
1:57
2
3:27
3
2:53
Missa Quam pulchri sunt, for 4 voices
4
1:14
5
3:00
6
3:17
7
3:20
8
4:25
9
3:11
Missa O magnum mysterium, for 4 voices
10
1:55
11
1:51
12
1:34
13
3:38
Missa Gaudeamus, for 6 voices
14
1:29
15
2:09
16
2:32
17
5:55
Missa Gaudeamus, for 6 voices
18
1:17
19
4:09
20
3:13
Missa Quam pulchri sunt, for 4 voices
21
2:33
22
2:37
Work(s)
23
4:11
blue highlight denotes track pick