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The series of six discs of Taverner's greatest Mass settings recorded by The Sixteen in the 1980s and early 1990s are uniformly excellent and I think they are still among their very best work. The ensemble under Harry Christophers produce a fine, resonant sound which suits this music perfectly, bringing out the fabulous sonorities and high, ethereal treble which was characteristic of the early Tudor composers. The blend and balance of the voices is ideal and the singing is excellent, with a lovely fluency of line, impeccable intonation and a real engagement with the text. They are simply wonderful recordings, and their reissue at budget price is very welcome.

This disc contains the lovely early Mass setting Missa O Michael, the powerful and thrilling Leroy Kyrie, and Dum transisset Sabbatum - "justly one of Taverner's most celebrated works" as Sally Dunkley quite rightly says in her excellent notes. It's a great programme - I have owned the original disc for many years and still play it regularly and with great pleasure.

It is tantamount to sacrilege to say this nowadays, but I'm not all that keen on the Sixteen's more recent recordings. However, this series of Taverner and their magnificent Eton Choirbook discs The Eton Choirbook Collection: the Rose and the Ostrich Feather/Crown of Thorns/Pillars of Eternity/Flower of All Virginity/Voices of Angels are still among my very favourites, and at this price you're getting a real bargain, too. Recommended very warmly.
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on 19 October 2013
This Mass is written on the grandest scale in 6 parts expanding to a glorious 7 parts in the final Agnus Dei. It shows Taverner at his best with his achingly beautiful melodic lines and sonorous harmonies - and yet this is the only recording in the catalogue! The Taverner choir did a recording of it for BBC which was even better but never released on CD. Having performed it myself a number of times I believe that it deserves to be far better known. By the way - whenever you read about this Mass the know-all musicologists can't wait to tell you that there are one or two parallel octaves and fifths "indicating that it is an early work". Who cares. It sounds fabulous.
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on 30 May 2014
Long melodic flowing lines, soaring high voices, intricate interplay between the soloists and the choir. The Sixteen master perfectly the great beauty of Taverners' music. This early Tudor master deserves to be better known.

The mass, Leroy Kyrie and Dum transisset Sabbatum are all superb and expertly executed.

This series is a fantastic bargain and should be snapped up by all fans of Renaissance music.
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on 9 January 2016
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