While the recording of the album itself took just three days, the music is well-known to the boys, because they have sung most of these songs during the liturgy, Cole said.
“In a sense the choir is always preparing for an album, because we return to these pieces over and over again in the context of the liturgy, and we try to refine and purify the performance singing over the long term,” he said.
The schola was founded in 1996, and the boys, ranging in age from 7-18, are educated in the Junior House of the London Oratory School. They rehearse and sing multiple times throughout their school day.
The Spanish album is the second such album recorded by the choir. The first, “Sacred Treasures of England,” was released in 2017.
Cole said there is a distinct difference between the English sacred music and the Spanish sacred music on the albums, even though both styles of music profess “profound truths” and are of “staggering quality.”
In the English album, “the music sometimes points to the struggle in times of adversity, hinted at by (William) Byrd’s inclusion of the text ‘have mercy on me’ at the end of his Ave Verum Corpus,” Cole said.
“On the other hand, Byrd’s contemporaries in Spain, some of whom are presented on Sacred Treasures of Spain, were working unimpeded in the most fertile Catholic conditions imaginable: under the powerful patronage of Philip II, their music has a sense of freedom and purity allowing them to achieve an extraordinary level of quality in their polyphonic writing which is staggeringly crafted.”
Some of the pieces on the album include Guerrero’s “O Sacrum Convivium”, “O Quam Gloriosum” by Victoria, and “Versa est in Luctum” by Lobo.
The boys choir has already toured Spain to perform these pieces, Cole said, and they are looking forward to bringing these works of sacred music to the U.S. missions.
“...these missions are so beautiful, but each one is unique and special in its own way. We are very excited to bring the choir there. It is wonderful to bring alive the sound world of these Spanish Renaissance composers in so fitting a place as these missions...it will be a tour we will remember forever.”
The album, Sacred Treasures of Spain, can be found on both Amazon and iTunes, with the proceeds of sales going to support the choir program.
The schola’s 10-day tour of the Catholic missions on the West Coast of the U.S. begins on July 18. The tour begins with performances in Salt Lake City and continues in California, where they will be singing in Santa Paula, Santa Barbara, Carmel, and San Francisco.
(Story cotinues below)
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