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Cristóbal de Morales was the finest Spanish composer of the early 16th century (2000 marked the 500th anniversary of his birth ca. 1500, possibly in Seville). He was also one of the most important contributors to a repertoire of musical settings used in the liturgy for the dead. His five-voice Requiem (or Missa pro Defunctis, as it was originally called) was published in Rome in 1544 while he was a member of the Papal choir, and from there it became widely known across Europe. This overwhelming and impressive music was probably sung in 1599 in Mexico as part of the memorial ceremonies for Emperor Charles V (almost an exact contemporary of Morales), and then in 1598, in the context of a full Requiem Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of Toledo upon the death of Philip II.

After two successful début recordings for Cantus, the Spanish chamber choir Musica Ficta had already earned universal critical acclaim. Bruno Turner, the most important specialist in Spanish polyphony, wrote in his Guerrero dossier published by the Goldberg magazine that Musica Ficta's interpretations are "unmatched by any other group or choir in its restraint, intense emotion and sheer beauty.

Musica Ficta has the intimate immediacy of the best strings quartets and quintets. The tempi are well judged and the phrasing is immaculate. The solo voices' timbres are exquisite and in the sound they produce we have both delicacy and strong drama" (Goldberg, May 1999). In this new recording, the aim of Musica Ficta was to present a totally new approach to the performance of this music. First of all, the group offers a "one voice to a part" reading, which enhances the clarity of the musical text and allows for a higher degree of expression. Individual dynamics and timbres are scrupulously respected, producing an especially passionate and Mediterranean blend of voices, aided by a naturally close and unobtrusive miking system culminating in a devastatingly beautiful and moving recording.


Musica Ficta

  • Raúl Mallavibarrena, director
  • Núria Rial, cantus
  • Jordi Abelló, Alicia Ramonet, altus
  • Albert Folch, tenor
  • Tomàs Maxé, bassus
  • Ignasi Jordà, organ


Total time 64:15

68-pages booklet with articles by Jordi Abelló and Raúl Mallavibarrena, and 40 illustrations

Recorded at Església de l’Esperança, Barcelona (Spain), May 1998

Recording, editing and production José Carlos Cabello

Cover Juan de Juanes o Vicente Masip, “El descendimiento”. Museo de El Prado, Madrid


9 de Répertoire (Répertoire, France)

    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇓ before playing ▶

    Requiem a 5 (Missa pro defunctis): Introitus I - Cristóbal de Morales (ca. 1500 - 1553)
    Requiem a 5 (Missa pro defunctis): Kyrie III - Cristóbal de Morales (ca. 1500 - 1553)
    Miserere nostri, Deus - Cristóbal de Morales (ca. 1500 - 1553)

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