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Thomas Tallis: Spem in alium SACD

20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Mar. 2004)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: SACD
  • Label: Linn Records
  • ASIN: B0001LUFU8
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,327 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

This is simply a spectacular performance which earned the recording a Gramophone 'Editor's Choice' plaudit:'This is quite the best performance of Tallis's 40-part Spem in Alium that I have heard.'It was also named a First Choice Recording in BBC Radio 3's CD Review Building A Library feature.'Magnificat's cast list is about as good as it gets...'BBC Music Magazine.My whole-hearted,highest recommendation.(five stars)Audiophile Audition.A thick and rich sound which creates a vivid performance.Independent on Sunday.An outstanding performance of Thomas Tallis's Spem in alium provides a powerful cornerstone for a superbly conceived and executed programme.Gramophone.An inspired performance of this breathtaking piece of music.New-Classics.co.uk.An intimate and remarkable recording of music by the Thomas Tallis,the father of English church music.Atlanta Audio Society.

Review

An outstanding performance of Thomas Tallis's Spem in alium provides a powerful cornerstone for a superbly conceived and executed programme. --Gramophone

A thick and rich sound which creates a vivid performance. --Independent on Sunday

Magnificat's cast list is about as good as it gets... --BBC Music Magazine

A thick and rich sound which creates a vivid performance. --Independent on Sunday

Magnificat's cast list is about as good as it gets... --BBC Music Magazine

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 149 people found the following review helpful By P. SIMPSON on 11 May 2004
Format: Audio CD
A superb disc - ravishing performances and a wonderfully natural recording. The Spem In Alium was, like the Sixteen version, recorded in the round. I had it on redbook HDCD stereo and this is one of only two discs I've replaced with the same performance on SACD, it's that good. By the way, don't worry about repertoire repetition with the Sixteen disc, - the only item in common is the Spem, which lasts about 9 minutes, and each disc gives you another hour's worth of unduplicated repertoire in addition. Everything on this new SACD is by Tallis, whereas the sixteen disc features a number of other composers. Both discs are absolute essentials (for me anyway)
The surround mix is excellent, - not as 360 degree as the Sixteen on Coro but that latter performance, whilst excellent is a little artificial and glassy compared to the natural and intense sound of this Magnificat disc. Judging by the rear illustration, the Magnificat disc seems to have been recorded with just two high mounted mikes and the result is both thrilling and "real". The acoustic throughout is marvellous and the voices have a beautifully grainy yet vivid quality.
As for the performances, that of the Spem In Alium is unmatched even by the Tallis Scholars and the Sixteen (and that's the case even though all three discs feature some singers in common). This new one has an enraptured ardour about it which is really special, - you may forget to breath at times, it's that beautiful. All the performances, though, are wonderful, including the four part mass I'd never heard before, - a treasure of the Elizabethan age.
The artistic achievement is matched by one of the best recordings I've ever heard. I can't praise this disc highly enough. Five stars doesn't do it justice.
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95 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Equus on 15 Jan. 2005
Format: Audio CD
Until now my preference for prformance of the Spem in alium work was by the Tallis Scholars.Magnificat however improves on this , both with the clarity of the singing, the near perfect acoustic and the sublime recording. The ethereal beauty of this Renaissance masterpiece washes through and around one almost as if it were purging the soul . Magnicat demonstrate in the Spem in alium a more profound understanding and rendering of the piece over Peter Phillips and his Tallis Scholars;it would be interesting if a newer reading and recording of the work by the Scholars could surpass this one. The articulation of the latin words constucts a marvellous aural architecture and shows how beautiful and erudite Tallis's music is. BBC's 'building a library' on CD Review chose the Magnicat's version of the Lamentations over all of the selected competition in the full price category.Thoroughly recommended even it is just to use as a show disc for your hi-fi.It is also a SACD hybrid as well!
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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Will1968 on 15 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I came late to an appreciation of choral works, and am not always easy on them. However, this album is spectacular, not least Tallis' signature work 'Spem in Alium' which is truly astounding. Spem in Alium is a crucible for choirs that attempt it... like genius and insanity, there is a fine line between performing it well and performing it badly. It can so easily fall into a cacophony of chaos, but in this performance there is just sheer clarity of diction, depth, breadth and transcendent beauty, which is emphasised further if you play it on a surround system. As another reviewer pointed out there is nothing artificial in the multi-channel rendering. I found it so incredible that I've co-erced(!) several friends to just listen to the gathering harmonies and appreciate the music. All the pieces on this disk are beautifully performed, and as such it's a great tribute to early English Church music, but this also has to be the best performance of Spem in Alium that I have had the joy to hear. Highly recommended.
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100 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Bobster on 8 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable piece of music by any measure and should be in everyone's classical collection even if you are not normally a fan of vocal or religious music. You'll see many people lavish superlatives on this piece of music - and with absolute justification. In my view no superlative would be over-the-top.

For my part, I could say that it is sublime, superb, even peerless. But actually, I think it is other-worldly. It is quite simply staggering, for several reasons...
1) The ambition of Spem in alium is audacious. Composed circa 1570, written for 40 voices arranged in 8 independent choirs of 5 voices, each voice having a separate part, but all adhering to an overarching sense of cohesion. It is amazingly complex, mesmerisingly beautiful and, unsurprisingly, nothing like it was attempted for a century or two later.
2) Alas due to the complexity of the piece and the inordinate demands that its performance places upon any choir, very few recordings if any manage to convey this piece with sufficient clarity and control. In fact, there are only two recordings of Spem in alium that I can happily listen to. One is performed by the Tallis Scholars. The other is this recording performed by the Magnificat choir. And that said, I consider this particular performance by the Magnificat to be in a league of its own - no disrespect to the Tallis Scholars - anything but.
3) Despite Thomas Tallis (together with his oft partnered sidekick William Byrd) being a true superstar celebrity of his era, the words of Spem in alium sing of humility in the face of fellow man and God...
Read more ›
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