Had this CD not included songs sung in Spanish, it would without doubt be the best of all those dedicated to Mudarra's repertory for voice and accompaniment. The voice of the mezzo-soprano Catherine King is warm and involving and her musical sensitivity exquisite, as is that of her accompanist on the vihuela, Jacob Heringman. The latter interprets, sometimes on the vihuela and at others on the guitar, various fantasias, tientos, and other short pieces for a string instrument played by the Spanish master, converting them into a model of clarity of diction on the instrument, which Heringman wisely employs to take music and not to show off his technique, which is much to be grateful for.


Something similar can be said of Catherine King, delightful in the pieces whose text is in Italian or Latin, but less successful in those in Spanish--seven of the fifteen she sings--a language which it is evident she does not know. Here, for example, is how King reads the mischievous villancico, with an anonymous text, which concludes the disc: ”Yssabel [sic], Yssabel / perdiste la tua [sic] faxa / Áela po [sic] do va, / nadando pore lagua [sic]! / ÁYssabel atan garida [sic]!” Evidently it needs to be borne in mind that the CD is not directed at the Spanish or Latin American market, since the texts of the accompanying booklet are given only in English, German and French. Therefore both artists are to be thanked for their work in trying to popularise in non-Spansish-speaking countries the repertory of one of the best composers of accompanied monody of the Spanish Renaissance, Alonso Mudarra.

Maricarmen Gómez, Goldberg, June 1998