The Choir of Westminster Cathedral sounds much more brilliant than the college choirs which usually record such music. The boys (like those of St Johns, Cambridge) have a distinctive cutting edge and the vowel sounds are less polite than those of the universities which imparts a greater emotional thrust this is a thrilling record, given resonance by being made in Westminster Cathedral itself, yet quite clear in sound. --Gramophone, April 1983
Renaissance choral music has for many years been marketed as stress-busting music to calm down the weary modern-day man or woman in a world full of uncertainty and danger. Ironically, this music was born in a period of great stress and indeed danger as the Catholic Church and emergent Protestant faith wrestled for authority over nations. The Catholic Church rose to the challenge with some truly spectacular music, including Allegris famous Miserere included on this CD. Written for use exclusively by the papal choir, this music owes its popularity to the young Mozart, who having heard it once, copied the work from memory, bringing it to the outside world. Radical thought, as so often in history, was a punishable offence in the 16th century. Those who called for church reform were often dealt with brutally, paying with their lives for exposing the machinations and wrongdoings of Popes, bishops, priests and clerics. It was in such a climate that Palestrina, Monteverdi, Victoria and others produced their greatest religious music. This CD makes a soundtrack to the great theatre that was Roman worship in the 16th and 17th centuries, while also providing nearly 50 minutes of uplifting and spiritual music.