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on 26 September 2006
This is the greatest version of the Misere since The King`s College Version in 1963 by Willcocks. The high notes here not by the boys choirs and not in English but in Latin soar to such heights they are goosebump inducing. This entire recording is authentic, and quality and beautiful from start to finish. You go straight in from the first notes and it builds wonderfully and is consistent throughout. Harry Christophers seems to have a natural feel for this kind of music. I have also been very impressed with his Byrd.

This disc is a real pleasure. It is sung with care and control and yet invisably flawless in the fautlines with a sense of the beauty of the artistic or religious vision. The quality of the Sixteen here is suberb. One of their best ever recordings.

I could not believe this had no reviews so thought I would just help people along to make an informed choice here being the first reviewer.I would be interested to hear what others think. I have quite a number of Palestrina cds and other contemporary polyphonic composers and this is one of my most treasured recordings...It has a real grace to it and flow and clarity to the voices . And it is all the better to be sung in Latin musically than some of the English translations. It makes it more abstract and pure a musical experience for me. My Latin is far too rusty to make out much at all. The voices do overlap well and are very well timed. I cannot make out a single flaw in the timing but I am sure they may be some. The entire recording hangs well from start to finish like a great work of art should. This cd is also very well balanced and flows as it ought like an entire experience. I have bought a few of the cheaper Palestrina cds but I was glad to pay the extra for this cd. It really is that beautiful. It sounds authentic as as I imagine the age to sing..It has a sincerity about it if that is at all possible. It seems sung out of enjoyment and love out of a genuine passion and love for beauty, art and/or God...It is evident alot of thought has gone into the arranging and the choir really know their conductor and their notes, really quite a treasure this. One of the greatest Palestrina cds I know of. An ideal straight there to the Renaissance experience. Not sure who I am writing this review too actually.... But whatever your level of understanding of polyphonic music. This really is a beautiful disc. And it becomes more it goes on..with the modulating changes and soaring notes of the Misere. I am yet to know of another recording of the Misere that has such high sustained ear piercing high notes or such extended beauty. For this alone the cd is a masterpiece but the entire recording is very pure. Out of all the recordings I know of this I can imagine was sung in the Vatican in the 16th under Palestrina `s watchful eyes and ears. Track 3 is astounding...It really goes right through me with the high notes. Beautiful. Highly recommened version or a great piece of music. The sound quality of the recording is also excellent. Being the latest version of this recording of any note it is of a very high quality. I was very impressed with when I first heard this cd and it never fails to uplift and inspire me every time I play it. Which is my and most peoples acid test for quality. This cd should be out in the library a long time. Very hard to beat this version. And in my view the best one. An absolutely perfect start to Palestrina if you do not know him already. The condusting is precision but with a creative flow to it. The singers obviously know every note and have worked on every part of this as a thought out work of art. A very faithful rendition. No wonder the first Pope on hearing this music was so impressed. I would be. I quite think the singers and the conductor had this in mind when they recorded this. Beauty is upper most and grace. It also sounds good low and loud. It never fails to move. A very emotional and beautifully sung Palestrina version. Highly recommended.
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on 26 May 2013
The Music of The Sixteen is truely heavenly. Allegri's Miserere is one of the most beautifull pieces I have listened to for a long Time.
You just want to listen to it over and over again. Not all Addictions are bad though.
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on 12 November 2007
If there is one classical vocal album you need to have in your collection, this is it. It is sublime and will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. You've heard of classical chill - this is the real deal. This is a magnificent collection and the Miserere in particular is something really special. The Sixteen are a wonderfully talented group of people and they can be justly proud of their achievement with this recording. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough - it is simply magnificent.
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on 29 March 2011
I am not an expert on music but this version of Allegri is beautiful and encouraged me to search other recordings by The Sixteen and I am yet to be disappointed, it lead me to buy Renaissance - Music for Inner Peace would recommend as well
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on 1 February 2013
One of the best recordings of the Miserere I have heard. I bought the CD for the Palestrina as I was singing it my next concert...but was blown away by the Allegri.
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This is a very fine disc of some great polyphony. The Sixteen are among the world's leading ensembles in this repertoire and they produce a lovely performance here. As always, their technique and intonation are exemplary and the blend of voices is very good. They engage well with the text, so that the lengthy Gloria and Credo of the Missa Papae Macrcelli, for example, really mean something and never drag, and Allegri's Miserere has a lovely ætherial sound.

I confess that I often find The Sixteen's sound slightly distant and over-resonant, as though everything were in slightly soft-focus, and I marginally prefer The Tallis Scholars' landmark recording of these two works Allegri: Miserere which has an equally fine level of performance but which is slightly more precise and distinct and, to me, more meaningful. At this level of excellence, though, these things are purely a matter of personal preference and you may well not share my taste.

This is a very good disc indeed and you simply can't go wrong with it. The recorded sound is excellent and the presentation is attractive. I agree with the other favourable reviews here: this is very recommendable.
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on 24 October 2009
As turn-of-the-century recordings go, this performance really isn't bad - in places it's positively good. For my tastes though, the Allegri in particular falls short. The more complex, and what seems like close-miked acoustic has less sense of space than the famous 1963 recording on Decca and that, plus the use of soprano rather than treble, follows a modern trend that has everything to do with practicality and little to do with the music as intended. The treble in the 1963 Decca is so ethereal it really does seem to disconnect from earth; I don't feel I can say that about any of the recordings I have heard that use soprano voice in its place. Yes, a well-trained soprano can project, has weight, can take the pounding of recording and re-recording and of a demanding touring schedule; but the music was written as a dramatic piece to be performed in a particular place in a particular way. I feel the '63 recording comes close to that in acoustic and the recording itself was created at the peak of what turned out to be the fabulous 50s and 60s Decca legacy. Sadly, young men reach puberty ever sooner in their young lives and the requirements of modern music directors, not to mention recording studios, is such that I fear their presence will be ever rarer.
That said, The Sixteen are highly proficient and there are some nice pieces on this disc. If, however, you don't have one and are looking for a recording of the Allegri, go back to the Decca.
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Allegri's Miserere is given the top billing on this disc, perhaps because of some celebrated special effects, explained in the liner notes, that it contains. The first track is devoted to a sombre and beautiful Crucifixus (from the Nicene Creed) by one Lotti, an older contemporary of Bach. Admirable and compelling, both of these, but what I bought this disc for was the two items by Palestrina, his Stabat Mater and the celestial Missa Papae Marcelli.

It is not just the quality of the early music specialists these days but the sheer profusion of them that continues to astonish me. I looked through the list of singers (18, not 16) and while I did not recognise most of the names offhand that may simply be because I did not investigate my large record collection, and I certainly did spot the name of a certain Mark Padmore among the tenors. The top parts are taken by sopranos, not trebles, all the altos are male, and the four soloists in the Allegri are also members of the choir.

To me, the 16th century polyphonists are not some recondite category of music that I have come to know in a spirit of antiquarianism. My early education made me familiar with Palestrina, Victoria and others of the period before I knew Bach Beethoven and Brahms, and that surely has to be the right sequence simply because it is the chronological and historical sequence. I have no mental reconfiguring to do before I listen to Palestrina because I have long known, and indeed sung in, the two works here. If they need `selling' to anyone, the best I can do is to state baldly that these performances are magnificent and the music itself is sublime beyond sublimity. This performance of the Mass in particular even ousts my treasured account from Willcocks in being at least as well sung and benefiting from more modern recording. Everything here is `quality'. To compliment a choir on its infallible intonation is not like congratulating an author on his spelling, it is a higher sort of achievement and one that cannot be taken for granted even nowadays and even from the most distinguished performers. Here it is utterly beyond question, and I was overawed by the breath-control that these vocalists, to a man and a woman, exhibited in the long final notes of the various pieces. All this is at the service of a musical sense that is instinct with belief and commitment as well as being stylistically impeccable. Nothing is exaggerated, but I sense a fervour in this singing that would not be out of place in the most `expressive' later music. The recording is just about ideal too, clear without either dryness or excessive resonance, reproducing with fidelity the superb vocal tone.

Nothing Allegri can do matches the heavenly serenity of the Missa Papae Marcelli, but the performance, as you might expect, is to the same standard, and so is that of Lotti's very fine Crucifixus. Harry Christophers contributes a short preface, and the main liner note, by Ivan Moody, provides some informative background. It may be that a little comment of my own on the texts respectively of the Stabat Mater and the Miserere will be helpful, because these are not the brightest jewels of the production.

The text of the Stabat Mater that Palestrina used is not the one I am most familiar with, the text set by Verdi for one. Details of the divergences need not concern us now, but for the odd fact that in two instances the Sixteen sing the other version and not what you will find printed here. I shall point these out at the places where they occur, in the course of correcting misprints in the Latin

. `Contristantem': read `contristatam'
. `Per tansivit': read `pertransivit'
. `Quis Christi': delete `Quis'
. `Me sentire vim doloris,': the comma should either be removed or come after `fac' in the next line
. `Fac me vere tecum flere': the other version `Fac me tecum pie flere' meaning `Make me weep devoutly with you' is what is sung
. `con dolore': read `condolere'
. `Ob amorem Filii': the other version `Et cruore Filii' meaning `And with the blood of your Son' is what is sung
. `custodire': read `custodiri'

There are a few misprints in the Latin of the Miserere as well, and more seriously there is a fair little sprinkling of mistranslations in the English. I shall mention only the outright errors and not those cases where the translation allows itself some latitude

. `miserationem': read `miserationum'
. `Ecce enim...manifestasti mihi': the translation is completely wrong. Read `For lo, thou hast loved truth: thou hast revealed to me those things in thy wisdom that are uncertain and hidden.'
. `mudabor': read `mundabor'
. `the bones which thou hast broken': read `my bones that were cast down'
. `invisceribus': read `in visceribus'
. `proiecias': read `proicias'
. `free spirit': read `lordly spirit'
. `sanquinibus': read `sanguinibus'
. `dedessem': read `dedissem'
. `build thou the walls of Jerusalem': read `so that the walls of Jerusalem may be built'
. `imponenet': read `imponent'

It is worth understanding what we are listening to, especially when what we are listening to is as transcendentally good as we find it here.
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on 20 May 2013
I love this, so chill yet so up lifting, I never tire of it. I still have not heard a better version.
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on 26 June 2008
What more praise can be added to that of the previous two reviews? They have said it all! If I could I would give it much more than 5 stars! This is one of my all-time favourite CDs - this particular interpretation of Allegri's "Miserere", for me, is simply the best! I cannot find words to describe its effect on me - it is truly inspiring, sublime and uplifting! The Sixteen are extremely accomplished artists who bring great musicality and depth to all of their performances - they will never disappoint!
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