Andrew Palmer, Group Editor

Classical Music: Pedro De Christo Magnificat

Pedro de Christo Magnificat
Marian Antiphons & Missa Salve Regina

Magnificat octavi toni; Salve regina; Missa Salve regina; Quae est ista; Alma redemptoris mater; Ave regina caelorum; Stabat mater; Regina Caeli; Beata Dei genitrix; Sancta et immaculata; Beata viscera Mariae; Ave maris stell; Virgo prudentissima; Ave Maria.

Cupertinos Director: Luis Toscano

Hyperion CDA68393

One of Hyperion’s strengths, of which there are many, is its ability to record polyphonic music superbly well. This disc is just one example of its empathy in producing an album euphonious in sound; the choir, Cupertinos, under the direction of Luís Toscano, perform the sublime music of Pedro de Cristo in the Basílica do Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal, magnificently, captured brilliantly by Hyperion’s recording engineers.

The ambience created from the off, draws the listener into the music of this Portuguese composer and interestingly, all the scores used for this recording were transcribed from five manuscripts preserved in the Biblioteca Geral da Universidade, Coimbra, Portugal. The recording includes five first recordings and marks an important addition to the composer’s burgeoning discography.

According to Luís Toscano’s informative notes, Pedro De Cristo (c1550-1618) was born in Coimbra and joined the Monastery of Santa Cruz at that time one of the most prestigious centres of musical activity in Europe.

Cupertino prove an outstanding Portuguese vocal ensemble as they bring to life the different texts through immersing themselves in this wonderful music ensuring the punctuation, prosody and structure of the sung texts is perfectly delivered in an acoustic that complements the resonance of the voices. The scrumptious cadences flawless, each voice balanced and effortlessly and impeccably delivered.

All the individual lines have a fluidity that brings out the beauty and sublimity, as the ensemble craft each note. The expressive phrasing, dynamics and tone combine to create a divine auditory experience.

This is a disc of music that deserves to be heard, gorgeously controlled singing that soars and fills the space and one which Cupertinos impressively demonstrate the characteristic sound world that defined the ‘Golden Age’ of Portuguese music.

A paragon of heavenly music and one that confirms that the epithet assigned to Cupertinos is justly deserved: ‘true ambassadors of Portuguese polyphony.’