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This is a reissue of a 1996 Accent release, with quartet veterans La Colombina in their pre-2003 incarnation, with María Cristina Kiehr on the top line. Loosely based around the offices of Christmas, the programme commences with Gregorian versiculum, intonation and response, and is bisected by the chanted antiphon Dominus dixit ad me. Interpolated is a delicious selection of intimate, small-scale polyphony by Padilla, Victoria, Cristo, Brito, Morales and Guerrero, coolly precise and immaculately tuned rather than visceral and full blooded; delicate and sweetly affecting. Also thrown in is a less frequently recorded selection of ensaladas (vernacular mélanges of narrative, moral fable and onomatopoeic nonsense) by Gaspar Fernández and Bartomeu Càrceres. Nowadays we’ve come to expect this sort of repertoire rendered in a more rhythmically vital, often chordophone-reinforced fashion, but this is warmly recommended nonetheless.

Catherine Groom Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing