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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Comparison, 29 Dec 2013
By 
Joseph L. Ponessa (Glendive MT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
I now have three performances of Palestrina's Missa papae Marcelli by the Tallis Scholars:
(1) The analog recording made at Merton College Chapel, Oxford in 1980, which appeared first on vinyl and then on a well-remastered CD. The work is well performed and well recorded, not necessarily superseded by the recordings that followed.
(2) The video recording made at Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome in 1994, both on a fine laserdisc and a less fine DVD. It is nice to be able to see the performers, and there is a real sense of occasion, being the four-hundredth anniversary of the composer's death. Allegri's Miserere is also sung, along with Palestrina's Stabat mater and four motets. It is an ample program, with the Allegri piece as a not-unwelcome intrusion.
(3) The multi-channel, high-resolution recording made at Merton College Chapel in 2005, first released on two-channel CD in 2007 and now appearing in 5.1 glory on blu-ray along with Palestrina's Stabat mater and Tu es Petrus, and Allegri's Miserere. As I contemplated the creation of Adam on screen through all 76 minutes of music, I couldn't help but notice that Adam's face seems to be a mirror image of God's, but minus the beard. All this music was written to be performed under this particular art, but for the Miserere Michelangelo's portrayal of one of the sad prophets like Jeremiah from the same ceiling would have been even more appropriate.
The Miserere is sung once at the beginning and again more ornately at the end. So the disc invites comparison. I did like the simpler version better. The use of Tonus Peregrinus rather than Mode II for the psalm verses is ingenious, identified as parodied in the soprano part. But I wonder if it was really the Lamentation tone from Tenebrae that was being parodied. Tonus Peregrinus only appears in conjunction with Psalm 114, a Sunday Hallel Psalm in the Gregorian repertory, so there is no evidence of T.P. being connected with repentance. Miserere, however, is a Psalm of Good Friday and would meld with the Lamentation tone most fittingly in the same liturgy.
Without the vinyl to compare, the results of my little comparison are (1) blu-ray, (2) laserdisc, (3) CD and (4) DVD, in that descending order. Thanks to Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars for giving us the only Renaissance blu-ray that has yet appeared--unless Palestrina is considered baroque, in which case they have given us the earliest baroque work on blu-ray. I recommend to everybody that you buy this blu-ray, and if you all do, then the Scholars will be encouraged to release the 1980 and 1994 performances on blu-ray also. Pretty please?
PS--BTW, I also compared the blu-ray with the only other high-resolution recording of the Missa, an SACD. Those forces transposed the entire work down a third. The soaring quality of the composition is lost, and the work becomes like a Requiem papae Marcelli instead. So the Tallis Scholars hold the field for this work in super audio.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music worthy of the Sistine Chapel., 7 Dec 2013
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
This is a package of 2 discs - one Blu Ray and one audio CD. Of course the big interest here is the Blu Ray disc which contains 3 mixes of the sound - 2 in surround sound, but all 3 in higher resolution than a normal CD.

Not many people own SACD players, but a lot of people will have home cinema setups and I tried it on mine, with stunning results. I actually preferred the HD Master Audio surround mix to the True HD one - the HD MA sounded fuller and deeper, with a lot more presence - but I do notice that many films use this, so maybe it is more suited to home cinema systems.

The Miserere is the big beneficiary of surround, with the wonderful high soprano part coming from the balcony and sounding like an ethereal, heavenly voice. There is an additional version of this on track 9, with improvised high embellishment from Deborah Roberts and this is actually notated in the booklet provided, which also has pictures, lyrics (with translations) and detailed commentary.

Overall the sound is magical and you can hear how it would fit perfectly to the acoustic of the Sistine Chapel - of course it wasn't recorded there, but the quality certainly does justice to that wonderful building and Peter Phillips mentions in his notes how he always asks audiences to imagine they are there, when listening to this music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music worthy of the Sistine Chapel., 20 Dec 2013
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
This is a package of 2 discs - one Blu Ray and one audio CD. Of course the big interest here is the Blu Ray disc which contains 3 mixes of the sound - 2 in surround sound, but all 3 in higher resolution than a normal CD.

Not many people own SACD players, but a lot of people will have home cinema setups and I tried it on mine, with stunning results. I actually preferred the HD Master Audio surround mix to the True HD one - the HD MA sounded fuller and deeper, with a lot more presence - but I do notice that many films use this, so maybe it is more suited to home cinema systems.

The Miserere is the big beneficiary of surround, with the wonderful high soprano part coming from the balcony and sounding like an ethereal, heavenly voice. There is an additional version of this on track 9, with improvised high embellishment from Deborah Roberts and this is actually notated in the booklet provided, which also has pictures, lyrics (with translations) and detailed commentary.

Overall the sound is magical and you can hear how it would fit perfectly to the acoustic of the Sistine Chapel - of course it wasn't recorded there, but the quality certainly does justice to that wonderful building and Peter Phillips mentions in his notes how he always asks audiences to imagine they are there, when listening to this music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surround sound as it should be, 12 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
This is a excellent recording, and although I am not a great fan of choral work, this is an absolute joy to listen to, a huge improvement in quality over CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Have" disc!, 8 Feb 2014
By 
M. Wootton (Bridgnorth, Shropshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
Having recently acquired a Blu-ray disc player and having heard a review of this disc on BBC Radio 3, I thought I'd see if I could appreciate the difference between "normal" CD quality and Blu-ray. I already own a CD of this wonderful work and didn't really see how it could be improved on - until, that was, I began to listen to the Blu-ray version!
What a revelation! The only way I can describe it is that you have a sense of the air around the music! Close your eyes and the illusion of being in the building is so convincing that you expect to see somewhere different to your living room when you open them again!
This was my first Blu-ray Audio disc and it most definitely won't be my last!
Oh, and it almost goes without saying that the music is sublime!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful music, benchmark audio quality, 31 Jan 2014
By 
R. M. Day (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
This is a simply stunning recording of some truly beautiful choral music. There are other expert reviews out there that provide far better analysis of the musical performance than I can offer - suffice to say, all seem to agree that the performances are excellent. Personally I'm not a fan of the recording of the Miserere with extra embellishments but, as two versions are included on the disc, that shouldn't be a cause for concern. The recording itself is astonishingly clear and dynamic - the Miserere with its spatial arrangement of the performers lends itself well to listening on a good 5.1 setup in a quiet environment. If you want to discover how well your equipment reproduces subtle music, this is arguably the best blu-ray disc currently available (January 2014).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classical music, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Allegri: Miserere [The Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: GIMBD641] [Pure Audio Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray Audio)
I did listen the music of this Blu-Ray disc without any expectation, I wanted to hear it with an open mind.
(I knew the incident relating to this composition and Mozart but I never heard "Allegri's Miserere" before.)
Beautiful music, excellent performance.
I listened to the first and 9th version over and over again, probably three or four times.
The listening experience (the music on the disc) worth every penny I paid for it.
Sincerely: Bill Bede
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