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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O Clap Your Hands
Stile Antico was formed in Oxford in 2001 by a group consisting largely of students at the University. The name (meaning literally 'in the old style') reflected their interest in repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, and they elected early on to work without a conductor, instead allowing each member of the ensemble equal input into the overall interpretation of a...
Published 14 months ago by JB

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glossy, but lifeless
Stile Antico are very much flavour of the month at the moment, releasing plenty of discs that are generally very well received. Their approach of singing without a conductor, their blended sound, and their choice of repertoire, most of which is from pretty well-ploughed furrows, lend them a broad appeal.

This, their most recent CD (in 2013), returns not to a...
Published 12 months ago by William Burn


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O Clap Your Hands, 31 July 2013
By 
JB (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Stile Antico was formed in Oxford in 2001 by a group consisting largely of students at the University. The name (meaning literally 'in the old style') reflected their interest in repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, and they elected early on to work without a conductor, instead allowing each member of the ensemble equal input into the overall interpretation of a work.

Their extraordinarily balanced yet profound realisations of Renaissance polyphony saw them take the audience prize at the York Early Music Festival in 2005. It also brought them to the attention of the music industry and they were quickly signed to the American arm of Harmonia Mundi. The collaboration has been a fruitful one, and this is their eighth album together.

For The Phoenix Rising, Stile celebrate the centenary of the Carnegie UK Trust, whose publication of Tudor Church Music in the 1920s has been vastly influential on the development of the English choral tradition, of which Stile are now exemplars. This series of ten volumes of church music brought to a wider audience a collection of pieces which had hitherto been hidden away in libraries or only available in difficult to read partbooks. The selection on the album ranges from John Taverner (O splendor gloriae) through to Gibbons' O clap your hands together, taking in other luminaries of English Renaissance sacred music such as Byrd, Tallis and White along the way.

The recording, made at St Jude-on-the-Hill, is intimate, warm and not overly-reverberant; this suits the group's style well, allowing the nuances of inflection to be captured within the transparent textures. Negotiating a path between a sort of diaphanous sterility and an overly expressive and unbecoming lushness, Stile have found a sound which allows for the heartfelt expression of these extraordinary pieces, whilst maintaining a crystal-clear tonal integrity.

These are regal and affecting interpretations of works which came into existence in often troubled and turbulent times, the unfaltering devotion which they communicate all the more powerful for being understated. A worthy example of the English choral tradition indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another beauty from Stile Antico, 10 Dec 2013
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Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This is a very beautiful disc from Stile Antico. They are developing a very fine discography and this is an impressive addition.

The backbone of the music here is Byrd's wonderful Mass for Five Voices, interspersed with motets and anthems by Tallis, Gibbons, Morley, White and Taverner. It is repertoire in which Stile Antico excels and they have produced another cracker here. Their technique is excellent, with impeccable tuning and a lovely balance and blend. They engage with the music and shape it beautifully, and the introduction of some more lively anthems like Gibbons' O Clap Your Hands Together make a varied and interesting programme. Stile Antico's sound is warm and resonant and the individual lines are not as distinct as with some ensembles - but they blend so beautifully and make such a lovely overall sound that this doesn't matter to me at all.

The recorded sound is excellent and the disc is well presented with good notes.
I have admired Stile Antico's recordings (and a wonderful Prom concert they gave a couple of years ago) since I heard their very first disc, Music For Compline Stile Antico - Music for Compline, back in 2007. They are now a world-class ensemble and this is well up to their usual excellent standard and I warmly recommend this disc.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glossy, but lifeless, 18 Sep 2013
By 
William Burn "gingerburn" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Stile Antico are very much flavour of the month at the moment, releasing plenty of discs that are generally very well received. Their approach of singing without a conductor, their blended sound, and their choice of repertoire, most of which is from pretty well-ploughed furrows, lend them a broad appeal.

This, their most recent CD (in 2013), returns not to a well-ploughed furrow, but to a broad highway in English choral music: Byrd's Mass for 5 voices, Tallis' 'Salvator Mundi' and 'In ieiunio et fletu', along with some Gibbons, Morley, White and Taverner. Only two tracks struck me as being outside of the standard repertoire of cathedral and college choirs - White's 'Portio Mea' and Taverner's 'O splendor gloriae.' I think it's also true to say that, with the exception of the Taverner, the Tallis Scholars have recorded everything on this disc before. (This isn't to say that they have done a better or worse job, but there seems to be, with the exception of their interesting 'Tune thy musicke to thy hart' disc, a close convergence between Stile's repertoire, and that of their early music forbears.')

In the end, I was disappointed by this disc. The sound is very perfect, immaculate, even, and I found myself struggling to differentiate between the pieces I was listening to, despite the range of styles and sentiments on offer. For background listening, this CD is ideal, but Stile seem to have sacrificed communicating emotion and meaning to the imperative of a perfectly blended ensemble sound. Even the recording itself seems strangely glossy, the voices oddly rounded-off in the space. In the end, I'd look for individual recordings of the works elsewhere.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 9 Jan 2014
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This album was a complete surprise. I'd never heard of them, was merely browsing - as one does - and fell upon the record / artists. Its a gem. I really need say no more.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 17 Feb 2014
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Stile Antico is really as lovely as i thought it would be. A renewable pleasure after a day at work
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful music, 11 Jan 2014
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I am new to Stile Antico but the sound they generate with their voices is truly awe inspiring. Wonderful resonance from their voices as if you are sitting in a cathedral with them. Again, just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tudor musical gems., 17 Oct 2013
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A very interesting selection of both familiar & less well known 16th & early 17th century choral works all beautifully sung. Excellent!
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best seller, 13 Sep 2013
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And worth it. Beautiful but varied English choral music expertly rendered. A pleasure and even theriputic for stress. Buy it.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful CD, 2 Oct 2013
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I'm a fan of Stile Antico and this latest CD is simply wonderful. Hopefully I will manage to catch them in concert doing some of this but meanwhile this is choral music at its very best
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