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Fanfare Magazine: 36:2 (11/12-2012)
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Code-barres / Barcode: 5400439000056 (ID261)
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Reviewer: J. F. Weber

The anniversary of Tomás Luis de Victoria’s death has not been marked by new recordings to the extent that I anticipated, certainly not of the unrecorded works that might have been welcome. This is the third version of his last masterpiece to appear recently (see Fanfare 35:2 and 35:6), but strong competition goes back to Harry Christophers (29:3), David Hill (11:2; CD in 11:3), and Peter Phillips (11: 2). Philippe Herreweghe has the credentials to challenge the competition, using a vocal ensemble with two voices to a part (three on the bass line), placing him directly up against Christophers and Phillips. Although I do not have a single Victoria recording by Herreweghe, I did not doubt his sympathy for the music. The Lebanese church in Paris has been a suitable venue for this kind of sound for many decades. Herreweghe adds four motets to fill out the playing time. While three of them are readily available elsewhere, the Salve Regina for six voices is not; in fact, I cannot find it on records at all. It starts with the medieval solemn tone of the antiphon and expands to six voices in Victoria’s usual manner. Followed by the equally effective and more familiar Vadam et circuibo civitatem (recorded by Christophers, 26: 5), it fills out a satisfying program. This is fully competitive with the best Requiems in the catalog.

Φ Phi is a new label distributed by Outhere, the new outlet for Philippe Herreweghe’s recordings. The real name of the label is Φ, but the Greek letter is also spelled out in roman as well to avoid confusion. The digipak presentation is elegant and the notes by that old master, Bruno Turner, are helpful. Herreweghe is in a position to record a broad repertoire, but I’d be happy if he concentrates on the early music that he knows so well.
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