A 70-minute CD of Mudarras instrumental works would be one for aficionados only, but a well-chosen programme of selected vihuela solos plus all six of the four-course guitar pieces interspersed with vocal works from the third of the Tres Libros is a different matter. Here we have a representative anthology of some of the finest of all vihuela writing presented in a manner which breathes new life into a composer who some guitarists still see as a one-hit wonder. From the opening bars of the cheerful Si me llaman, a mi llaman, it is clear that Jacob Heringman is a vihuelist of exceptional poise and elegance, and that he could scarcely wish for a finer vocal partner than Catherine King. Singing in both Spanish and Latin, King's pristine voice glides through a wide range of villancicos, romances and sacred works in a restrained yet expressive manner which is ideally suited to the musical content. Equally successful are Heringman's solo offerings, the uncharacteristic and marvellously quirky Luduvico fantasia reminding us once again of why its global popularity once eclipsed that of everything else Mudarra wrote.
Sound quality is excellent, the delicate brightness of the vihuela always holding its own against the greater dynamic force of the human voice. Stepehen Haynes's liner notes provide all the necessary background information, and all the lyrics are reproduced complete with English translations.
For both general collectors and seasoned Mudarra enthusiasts, this CD will prove hard to beat.
Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar, August 1998