This is another excellent disc from Stile Antico, this time of performances of smaller scale works for private worship dating from roughly 1500 to 1630. These are all settings of English texts rather than Latin settings and are more intimate works than many of their previous recordings. In addition, they are joined by the brilliant viol consort Fretwork who play with them on some of the sung pieces and contribute two instrumental In nomines of their own.
Although the repertoire gives this disc a rather different in feel from their previous five releases, what remains constant is the excellence of the performance. The ensemble's blend and balance is as beautiful as ever and their tuning and technical mastery remains impeccable. The fact that they sing without a conductor but, as the notes tell us, "rehearse and perform as chamber musicians" gives a wonderful engagement with both music and text and the sense of private devotion is palpable throughout the disc. Fretwork, as ever, are superb and bring a depth and variety which really enhances the whole programme, and the intimate recorded sound makes the most of the wonderful performances here.
With good notes, full texts and very attractive presentation, this is a terrific disc all round and is very warmly recommended.