Wow, what a discovery and what a bargain. This has to be the best disk Summerly and his Oxford singers have produced for Naxos so far. The Spem In Alium is right up there with the very, very best, - passionate and intense as well as pure. Recorded in 4.0 but in PCM, it is also pretty impressive as sound, without the purity of the pure-DSD recording that Linn gave to Magnificat. In fact, there's not much other than the sound quality to separate these two superb recordings. The Mass and Motet were new to me and are a very pleasant personal discovery. It's hard for anything to match "Spem", but both are lovely works. I gave a Rosette to the Magnificat version and this is as good a performance as that. You needn't fear duplication if you buy this - and you should!!!! - as "Spem" is the only common work to these two discs or to the third fine Spem on SACD, that by The Sixteen on Coro. This Naxos disc need not fear comparison with any. The sound, in surround, is very, very good but if it had been DSD then this too would have deserved a Rosette.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Superior Performance and Ornery Acoustics6 July 2005
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If you love the "great" works of Tallis, those performed by Chapelle du Roi (on Signum CDs) could hardly be bettered. It is often difficult to sort out the lyrics and melodies of choral music recorded in a resonant space, but the engineers on Signum did it with their Tallis series, and the Chapelle du Roi know this music inside-out.
I do think these versions of the Missa Salve intemerata and Spem in alium by Oxford Camerata might have been equally satsfying had their engineer conquered the resonance of All Hallows Church.
In the Spem in alium, the verse, and even the melodic line, dissolve as the music soars -- then saturates the ears . Modest hifi systems may also reveal rolloff during the Spem in alium because the sound on the Naxos seems compressed at high volume. And that's a pity, because the Oxford Camerata perform this piece so beautifully.
Having said all this, I would buy this disc for its passionate performances. The Oxford Camerata are at the top of their game, and that will be enough for most listeners. At the Naxos price, buy it without delay, but if you really love these works, get the Signum versions too.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
come for Spem in Alium, stay for Salve Intermata23 May 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I wasn't sure what to expect of this recording because, since Naxos is a 'budget' label, I admit I was slightly prejudiced against Jeremy Summerly & his Oxford Camerata. After listening to this version of Spem in Alium a few times I've found that this is my favourite one. I've got recordings by the King's College choir, Tallis Scholars & Huelgas Ensemble. I like this recording most because it has very strong trebles (ie not low in the mix), it's not miked too close, it has a slightly slower tempo than the others, and seems to have a stronger 'beat' than the other ones. It seems to almost 'pulsate' with activity, especially when all 40 voices are in. As if the Spem in alium isn't enough, the Salve Intermata (apparently written when Tallis was in his early 20s) is another 'extreme' piece, which is also very good, although for different reasons. Spem in Alium has a large number of singers; the Salve Intermata lasts about 23 minutes! In contrast with Spem in Alium it is for 5 voices & is very calm, slow & meditative. I'm not sure which is the highlight of this cd... The rest of the cd feels more like the Salve Intermata since the mass is based on the motet & the 3 motets at the end have a similar feel to the Salve. All in all a very good cd, and a nice surprise!