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“Lamentations” – LOBO: Missa Maria Magdalene; Lamentations; Regina caeli; O quam suavis est, Dominie; GUERRERO: Maria Magdalene et altera Maria – Ch. Of Westminster Cathedral/ Martin Baker – Hyperion

A  fine disc of second-tier Renaissance music.

“Lamentations” – ALONSO LOBO: Missa Maria Magdalene; Lamentations; Regina caeli; O quam suavis est, Dominie; FRANCISCO GUERRERO: Maria Magdalene et altera Maria – Ch. Of Westminster Cathedral/ Martin Baker – Hyperion CDA6806, 68:37 (5/27/16)  [Distr. by Harmonia mundi/PIAS] ***:

Lobo (1555 – 1617) was considered by the great Victoria to be his equal, and many during his lifetime agreed. Posterity has not acceded to this conclusion; though his music is Palestrina-like in many ways, and does reflect a certain degree of emotional intensity, he stuck to the basic two-choir format in an age that was greatly expanding what was possible in the choral art, and ultimately he is regarded as a rather conservative figure. Sevillian to the core, he was a chorister at the noted cathedral, later assuming duties from Guerrero, and ending his life as maestro de capilla. All but one of his known masses are based on music by his beloved mentor, Francisco Guerrero, whose prototype of the Mass of Mary Magdalene is included here.

It’s difficult to get excited by this disc, despite the superb performances, unless it is from the standpoint of a completest collector. Baker and his excellent forces turn in performances of high skill and lovely sonics, but the music itself is definitely second-shelf compared to everything else that was going on during the high Renaissance. Nevertheless, if you are one of those early music aficionados who has a need for some Lobo, it’s a good stratagem to add this one to your assemblage.

—Steven Ritter

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