2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A little dull,
This review is from: Philips: Cantiones Sacrae Quinis Et Oct (NAXOS 8572832) (Audio CD)
I'm afraid I found this disc a little dull. This is partly due to the performances, I'm afraid, but also because, although Philips's music is enjoyable and moving in places, it is not in the same class as that of some of the great English polyphonists, in my view. It lacks the fabulous melodic and harmonic invention which made Byrd's music so striking and dramatic and doesn't quite achieve the serene, limpid loveliness evident in some of Tallis, for example.
Nonetheless, it is beautiful in places when well sung (by the Trinity College Choir, for example: Philips: Cantiones Sacrae 1612 (Cantiones Sacrae 1612)), but the singing here isn't quite good enough to make it shine. It isn't bad by any means and the one-to-a-part approach can be very effective, but intonation isn't quite precise enough at times and The Sarum Consort fail to achieve a real blend or cohesion of voices. Individual lines flow well enough but seldom quite mesh into a real, cohesive whole. It's not helped by one soprano having just enough vibrato to separate her form the rest of the singers, but I don't get much of a sense anywhere of real engagement with the spiritual sense of the texts and it all falls slightly emotionally flat, and a slightly hooty organ in places does nothing to improve matters.
I'm sorry to be critical, but this disc really didn't do much for me. Although I applaud the effort to bring Philips's music to a wider audience, this doesn't begin to compare to many of the fine polyphony recordings being made at the moment. If you want a selection of Philips, I'd suggest the Trinity College recording, and I'm afraid I can only give this a very lukewarm recommendation