Magazine article Gramophone

Tenebrae Sing Victoria at St Alban the Martyr, Holborn

Magazine article Gramophone

Tenebrae Sing Victoria at St Alban the Martyr, Holborn

Article excerpt

Victoria [G][GP]

Tenebrae Responsories

Tenebrae/Nigel Short

Signum [F] SIGCD344 (72' x DDD x T/t)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Up until now, choosing a recording of Victoria's Tenebrae Responsories was an easy task. If you wanted glossy thickness of texture and euphemising vocal warmth then there was The Sixteen's 1992 disc. If you preferred something a little more forthright, more muscular, the Tallis Scholars' interpretation was the one. Now Nigel Short and Tenebrae have complicated all that with a recording that strips all excess musical flesh aside, exposing the chilly bones of these penitential masterpieces.

The Tenebrae services of Easter Week see Christianity at its most bleak. And just as the comfort of light is denied to worshippers, so Victoria's musical settings of the Responsories for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday refuse to veil the pain of their texts. The challenge of music that sustains a single mood is to discover textural shades within the shadows. …

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