Puer Natus Est - Tallis: Mass Puer Natus Est, White: Magnificat, Sheppard: Verbum Caro + Taverner, Byrd, Etc.

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Muzyka Dawna
premiera polska:
kontynent: Europa
kraj: Anglia
opakowanie: digipackowe etui

Editor's info:
Stile Antico's newest programme centres on Tallis' magnificent 7-part 'Christmas' Mass, based on the festive plainchant Puer natus est, in a new edition prepared by Sally Dunkley. The mass is interspersed with seasonal Tudor music, including Byrd's exquisite Propers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, responsories by Taverner and Sheppard, Robert White's exuberant setting of the Magnificat, and Tallis' own sublime Videte miraculum.

Matthew O'Donovan's booklet note cannot be bettered in terms of historical context, analysis and relevance. Stile Antico is much in demand in concert, performing regularly throughout Europe and North America in repertoire ranging from English Tudor composers to the Flemish and Spanish schools and early Baroque. Their recordings on the harmonia mundi label have enjoyed huge success, and their release Song of Songs won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Early Music.
The endless hot summer drags on, and the promise of Advent and Christmas, recalled by the mid-August arrival of this new recording from Stile Antico, is quite compelling. And so is the music, headlined by the magnificent, monumental, and incomplete Missa Puer natus est of Thomas Tallis. The Mass has been recorded before, most notably by The Tallis Scholars and The Sixteen, but apparently a new performing edition was prepared for this current disc by Sally Dunkley (who, with David Wulstan also was responsible for the Tallis Scholars version from 2001). Without copies of the scores in hand--or some very close comparative listening--it's difficult to discern what differences there may be, if any, however, any performance requires some reconstruction of voice parts, so it's possible, even likely, that Stile Antico's Tallis Mass is not identical part-for-part to the others.

Whatever the case regarding the details of the scores, there's no question as to interpretive differences. While The Tallis Scholars and similarly The Sixteen are more measured, more restrained in their use of dynamic changes, Stile Antico is not averse to a little more contrast from one section to another, or to a bit of reveling in a climactic point or concluding cadence--not a bad thing in music whose bolder, more audacious moments are too often underplayed. These aspects of the group's style can be easily appreciated in the Gloria--the shift to a more gentle, prayerful tone at the words "qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis...suscipe deprecationem nostram", and the truly glorious, electrifying explosion of harmonies at the end of the movement.

The Mass certainly is a compositional marvel--although its seven-part voicing ensures relatively dense textures, Tallis manages to weave the melodic fibers with incredible smoothness and grace for very long stretches while maintaining a vibrant harmonic rhythm, such that you sense an easy if powerful flow from beginning to end, which benefits from Stile Antico's strong voices and consistently tight ensemble.

Although the Tallis understandably gets top billing, for me Robert White's Magnificat is the highlight of the program--a masterpiece among a host of other contenders, including the selections by Byrd and of course John Sheppard's dauntingly impressive Verbum caro. My only complaint here is that, depending on the particular voicing, but especially in the Tallis, the recording positions the lowest bass voice just slightly too close, creating an imbalance that can be distracting. I remember 25 years ago when I first heard The Tallis Scholars and thought how lucky we early music fans were to have this group and its recordings and performances to look forward to, with continuing respect for Peter Phillips and his groundbreaking ensemble, I find those same thoughts returning with every new Stile Antico recording. Highly recommended.
David Vernier,

Stile Antico - an ensemble of British singers:
Helen Ashby: soprano
Kate Ashby: soprano
Rebecca Hickey: soprano
Emma Ashby: alto
Eleanor Harries: alto
Carris Jones: alto
Jim Clements: tenor
Andrew Griffiths: tenor
Benedict Hymas: tenor
Will Dawes: bass
Oliver Hunt: bass
Matthew O'Donovan: bass

Puer natus est, plainchant
William Byrd: Attollite portas
William Byrd: Ave Maria
William Byrd: Ecce virgo concipiet
William Byrd: Rorate coeli desuper (from Gradualia 1605)
John Sheppard: Verbum caro
Thomas Tallis: Missa Puer natus est nobis
Thomas Tallis: Videte miraculum
John Taverner: Audivi vocem de coelo
Robert White: Magnificat

wydano: 2010
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Harmonia Mundi
Franz Schubert [1797-1828]
Stile Antico
Puer Natus Est - Tallis
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