The Sixteen, led by conductor Harry Christopher, have to be one of the best choirs in the UK at the moment. Their performance on this album is flawless - not a flat soprano or overly loud bass in earshot - and the voices blend into something truly special that sends shivers down your spine. BBC Music magazine have ranked it a five start recording, deservingly, as it's one of their best even by the Sixteen's high standards.
All the music is from the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-1558), which lends the album a unity and some historical interest. Her husband Phillip was king of Spain, and so there was international cross-fertilisation of inspiration during these few years. As an introduction to renaissance vocal music it would also be excellent, as most of the tracks are by Tallis, Victoria and Byrd, the most renowned composers of this era. The liner notes are also educational, with an interesting essay and the words in both Latin and English.
All tracks are a capella (without accompaniment) and polyphonic, with multiple melody lines weaving into each other - also I am pretty sure all are sacred Catholic music. For anyone of that faith looking to get in touch with its history, this album is strongly recommended, but as something beautiful and relaxing yet complex it is the perfect escape from the modern world for someone of any faith or none. As yet another incentive to buy, the record label Coro is set up by the Sixteen themselves, so the profits from each copy goes directly to support these stunning singers, rather than into executive pockets. There really isn't a reason not to get this album, it's that good.