Sixteenth-century Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero is featured in a reissued disc of motets for four, five, six, eight and 12 voices, with and without instruments. They come from a handful of collections published between 1555 and 1597 and show Guerrero’s skill in evoking a wide range of moods, joyful, sombre and contemplative in turn. Jordi Savall’s ensemble is well-equipped to project the skilfully wrought structures and expressive allure of the music. Some of the pieces fare better than others in respect of vocal texture and ensemble. Tenors and basses occasionally lack tonal refinement but, at their strongest the performances provide a radiant conspectus of Guerrero’s masterly motets.
Ten years after the live album São João Vivo on the same topic, Gilberto Gil again celebrates June's popular saints festivities on the buoyant Fé na Festa. Such festivities were brought from Portugal and became an important part of Brazilian culture, especially the cult of São João (Saint John) in the northeast region. The music associated with these festivities is typically performed with instruments brought by (or derived from) the Portuguese colons, such as the accordion, violin, triangle, cavaquinho, and sanfona. While Gilberto Gil has an international reputation as a musical revolutionary, thank to his tropicalista origins, he is also a superb classicist, as his many projects in Brazilian folk music can attest.