One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611)
Tenebrae Responsories
Feria V in Coena Domini ad Matutinum in secundo nocturno
Responsorium IV: Amicus meus [3:01]
Responsorium V: Iudas merator pessimus [2:24]
Responsorium VI: Unus ex discipuli meis [4:07]
Feria V in Coena Domini ad Matutinum in tertio nocturno
Responsorium VII: Eram quasi agnus [3:31]
Responsorium VIII: Una hora [3:05]
Responsorium IX: Seniores populi [5:43]
Feria VI in parasceve ad Matutinum in secundo nocturno
Responsorium IV: Tamquam ad latronem [3:42]
Responsorium V: Tenebrae factae sunt [4:22]
Responsorium VI: Animam meam dilectam [8:14]
Feria VI in parasceve ad Matutinum in tertio nocturno
Responsorium VII: Tradiderunt me [2:43]
Responsorium VIII: Iesum tradidit impius [2:55]
Responsorium IX: Caligaverunt oculi mei [6:32]
Sabbato Sancto ad Matutinum in secundo nocturno
Responsorium IV: Recessit pastor noster [3:31]
Responsorium V: O vos omnes [3:04]
Responsorium VI: Ecce quomodo moritus [5:29]
Sabbato Sancto ad Matutinum in tertio nocturno
Responsorium VII: Astiterunt reges [2:10]
Responsorium VIII: Aestimatus sum [2:44]
Responsorium IX: Sepulto Domino [4:41]
Tenebrae/Nigel Short
rec. 28-29 December 2012, St Alban the Martyr, Holborn, London

Victoria stands out as one of the very finest composers of Renaissance Europe. A man of many talents - he was also a singer, an organist and a priest - he has become widely known for his intensely spiritual music. The Tenebrae Responsories are no exception. Appearing in a book of sacred music published in 1585, they form part of the most complete collection of music for Holy Week - the week before Easter in the Christian calendar - by any leading Renaissance composer.
This is not the first recording of Victoria's Tenebrae Responsories. Westminster Cathedral choir did so in 1989, the Tallis Scholars in 1990 and The Sixteen in 1995. On the other hand, this version, from a choir numbering just 13 (4/3/3/3) immediately engaged me. It is not only intimate but also theatrical - something for which Tenebrae is justly celebrated. I was rapidly drawn into it and wanted more. The choir did not fail to deliver and the disc just got better and better.
Victoria's sense of text, word-painting and harmony are all very powerful. This is something that is magnified greatly by their performance. The remarkably clear diction ensures that the text is delivered with full force, and I was glued to it from the off. The text is just the beginning of what is just so right about this disc.
Each of Victoria's beautifully crafted vocal lines has its own place within Tenebrae's delivery. The choir's sense of ensemble is exceptional, not only ensuring each melodic line comes across in its own right but also allowing the harmony to stay in place effortlessly. Almost like an earthquake-proof building, the movement and freedom in the melodic lines do not damage the integrity of the musical structure. Achieving that balance is difficult indeed but this disc is a textbook example of how to do it right.
The choir's sense of blend is unbelievably good too. Everything moves seamlessly and smoothly, just as Renaissance polyphony should. The performance is also nimble throughout with the choir's agility at its peak in the "verso" sections where a semi-chorus sing a section of music, a feature very much typical of the Renaissance era. Delicate but by no means weak, the “verso” sections were particularly poignant.
The various emotions of the Tenebrae Responsories were astoundingly articulated. The betrayal, the sense of loss, the anger, the grief and the tragedy - to name but a few - I felt each and every single one. It was devastatingly beautiful.
In front of every great choir is a conductor with the remarkable musicality to pull and hold things together. Nigel Short's direction is nothing short of masterful - a skilled singer/director directing excellent singers. This disc presents impeccable music-making and should be in anybody's collection. Amazing.
Jake Barlow 

Previous review: Simon Thompson