Coupling powerful interpretations with path-breaking scholarship, the choir Contrapunctus presents music by the best-known composers as well as unfamiliar masterpieces. Directed by Owen Rees, a specialist in music of the 16th and 17 centuries, the group presents imaginative programmes revealing previously undiscovered musical treasures and throwing new light on familiar works. This recording explores the musical 'cries of the oppressed' from opposite ends of Europe, which include some of the most powerful works composed in England and Portugal during this period by Byrd, Tallis, de Monte and Cardoso. The highlight perhaps is the first recording of a newly reconstructed vocal work by Thomas Tallis, 'Libera nos'. This has long been thought to be an instrumental work, and has been recorded as such, but there's persuasive historical evidence for us to be confident that this is in fact a choral setting of the antiphon 'Libera nos', and it is performed here with the relevant text restored to the five vocal parts.
This debut recording by the clean-voiced and agile Contrapunctus ensemble includes a genuine discovery (…) a 'new' work by Thomas Tallis. (…) The choir sings it and works by Byrd, Philippe de Monte, Pedro de Cristo and Martin Peerson with admirable, firm-toned fluidity. More, please. --The Observer
The a cappella choir Contrapunctus, currently Vocal Consort in Residence at the University of Oxford, is directed by Owen Rees and gives a very assured performance on this its debut recording. Although the music is sorrowful it is nevertheless a pleasant listening experience and the seventy minutes of the programme flew by, leaving this reviewer wanting more. --Steven Whitehead, www.crossrhythms.co.uk 10th August 2013
4/5) **** This exemplary disc offers 16th and 17th-century motets written by composers under religious duress ... Pristine performances by Owen Rees s Contrapunctus choir... --Richard Morris, The Times 17th August 2013