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The Tallis Scholars, formed in 1973 by director Peter Phillips, are specialists in Renaissance polyphony and in particular the works of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. They are today considered one of the leading exponents of sacred polyphonic singing.

This double CD released in 2005 is beautifully illustrated (front cover, booklet cover and on the front of each CD themselves) with reproductions of Michelangelo's paintings of five sybils (prophetess) as seen in the Sistine chapel.

The recordings, from various dates in the 1980's and 1990's, are of equal match to the artwork. The most popular of the works `Missa Papae Marcelli' is the landmark 1980 recording from Merton College Chapel, Oxford and still remains, for many, the finest version in existence.

Three other popular masses are included, the 1986 recording also from Merton College Chapel of `Missa Brevis', and 1989 recordings from the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Salle, Norfolk of the `Missa Assumpta est Maria in caelum' and `Missa Sicut lilium inter spinas'.

The 24 page booklet provides a short narration of the works by Peter Phillips, a biography of the Tallis Scholars and a translation into English of all the libretti to the works.

In my view this is essential listening and a fine example of some of the best music from the Renaissance era.
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You simply cannot go wrong with this double CD. It brings together works from three classic Tallis Scholars discs over nearly 20 years of their career in which time they have established themselves as one of (if not the) foremost Renaissance choirs in the world. They sing Palestrina absolutely beautifully with an exquisitely pure sound, immaculate tuning, lovely clarity and continuity of line, and a deep understanding of the relationship between text and music. They are stunning discs.

The Tallis Scholars were invited to sing in the Sistine Chapel to mark the 500th anniversary of Palestrina's death, and it's obvious from these performances why the Vatican chose them above all the world's other great choirs. I have owned and loved the original discs since they were first issued, and I am sure you will feel the same about this reissue - and for a bargain price, too. Whether you're looking for an introduction to Palestrina's music or a recording of four of his great masses to last you all your life, this disc is recommended in the warmest terms.

(If you find you like this, you may also be interested in The Tallis Scholars Sing Josquin,(Tallis Scholars Sing Josquin) which I think is even lovelier, and The Taverner Consort's recording of Thomas Tallis's Latin Church Music which includes Spem in alium (Tallis: Spem in alium · Latin Church Music /Taverner Consort & Choir · Parrott). Both are very reasonably priced reissues of some of the finest polyphony recorded in the last 25 years.)
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on 25 March 2013
beautiful,the loveliest thing that i have bought of this year.I recommend this to anyone wanting peace and serenity,a divine sound.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
You can hear why Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is regarded by many as the greatest exponent of Renaissance polyphony, especially when you listen to this recording by the incomparable Tallis Scholars who seem physically incapable of delivering anything less than perfect.

Two discs of truly outstanding performances which seem to go on forever, and an unmissable bargain. Everybody rush forth and demand a copy forthwith.
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on 13 May 2016
I love the sound of the Tallis Scholars. Their skill and high quality is consistent and reliable, and Palestrina was both gifted and inspired. We in turn are thereby gifted with the experience of ecstasy. It is very moving and irrigational music (lacrimae gaudiorum).
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on 16 December 2014
Beautiful music, beautifully performed and recorded.
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on 28 January 2016
Fantastic.
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