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Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 30 Oct 2015
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Frequently bought together

  • Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea
  • +
  • Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas Magnificats [Tallis Scholars] [Gimell: CDGIM 045]
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  • The Tallis Scholars sing Thomas Tallis / Spem In Alium
Total price: £43.98
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Product details

  • Conductor: Peter Phillips
  • Composer: John Taverner
  • Audio CD (30 Oct. 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Gimell
  • ASIN: B010EJOB74
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,906 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gloria: Gloria in Excelsis Deo
  2. Gloria: Qui Tollis
  3. Credo: Credo in Unum Deo
  4. Credo: Et Incarnatus Est
  5. Sanctus: Sanctus and Hosanna I
  6. Sanctus: Benedictus
  7. Sanctus: Qui Venit
  8. Sanctus: Hosanna II
  9. Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei I
  10. Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei II
  11. Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei III
  12. Agnus Dei: Dona Nobis Pacem
  13. Dum Transisset
  14. Ut Venientes
  15. Alleluia
  16. Dum Transisset
  17. Ut Venientes
  18. Alleluia

Product description

Product Description

'The Missa Corona spinea is a kind of treble concerto, packed with mind-blowing sonorities. If ever there was music to exemplify Shakespeare's 'Music of the Spheres', it is here, and especially in the two ecstatic treble gimells. The first performance, probably in front of Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey, must have been an astonishing occasion.'


Nobody knows why Tudor composer John Taverner (not to be confused with contemporary composer John Tavener) wrote a Mass dedicated to Christ's crown of thorns. Peter Phillips speculates that the piece may have been composed to display the outstanding trebles of Cardinal Wolsey's Oxford chapel choir. It could, he suggests, have been created to mark the visit of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to Wolsey's Cardinal College, which perhaps took place in March 1527. The extraordinary invention of Taverner's music and the star qualities of the high-voiced boys under his care surely affirmed Wolsey's ambition and power, traits that contributed to the influential cleric's catastrophic downfall and death. The three female first sopranos of The Tallis Scholars sound consistently like boy trebles, so much so as to be uncanny. Even the finest boys would struggle to sustain the high pitch chosen for this performance, especially in the work's famous gimell sections, during which the topmost part is divided or twinned . The wide span of Taverner's scoring at times leaves the ensemble's second sopranos exposed low in their range, sufficient here to dilute the impression of an all-male group. This intense performance, driven by the energy of its forward momentum, invites listeners to enter a state of spiritual uplift and ecstasy. --Sinfini Music, 20/8/15

Prepare to leave Planet Earth for the duration of Taverner's Missa Corona spinea. Even the most diehard of the Tallis Scholars' supporters who thought they'd heard everything by now will be bowled over by this astonishing performance of an astonishing work. Whatever the occasion of the Mass's first performance - possibly an event at Wolsey's Cardinal College, Oxford in front of Henry VIII - the choir must have been extraordinary. The Tallis Scholars - as we would expect - here keep this fiendishly difficult work under immaculate, apparently nerveless, control. Most especially the thrills come from the high-wire act performed by the Scholars' treble voices, Janet Coxwell and Amy Haworth. Great waves of sound that return the hackles on the back of one's neck to those revelatory recorded performances from the Clerkes of Oxenford in the 1970s which for many were an introduction to the glories of soaring 16th-century English polyphony. As they say, it's like falling in love all over agin. --Andrew Green, Early Music Today

BBC Radio 3 CD Review's Disc of the Week on Saturday 31 October. /// History has not been kind to the great Tudor church composer John Taverner. He was described as a fanatical ideologue who regretted writing "Popish [i.e. Catholic] ditties" during his "time of blindness", meaning before he turned Protestant. Eventually he gave up composing to become an enthusiastic persecutor of monks, in the pay of Thomas Cromwell. In fact there's no evidence that Taverner ever seriously turned Protestant, and we know he treated the monks he was obliged to throw out of their Lincolnshire monastery with great courtesy. Those doctrinal battles are long gone, but, as this fabulous recording shows, Taverner's music lives on, praising God in its own way.The music floats rapturously, as it should, but even so you can feel the pulse underneath. Here and there, as in the "Et expecto" passage in the Credo, there's a sudden burst of rhythmic excitement. However, the real glory of this recording is the sopranos. They sing Taverner's stratospheric high voice parts with truly staggering perfection. If they don't persuade sceptics that women can actually sing Tudor polyphony better than boys, then nothing will.***** ONE OF TELEGRAPH'S RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2015 Telegraph 26/10/15 /// The Tallis Scholars celebrated their 2,000th concert this autumn and were justly praised for bringing sacred polyphony out of church and library and on to the world's concert platforms. Here they present one of the repertoire's most challenging works, John Taverner's mass for the Feast of the Crown of Thorns, probably commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey to show off his chapel choir's particularly fine trebles. They must have been impressive, judging by the dizzyingly high and virtuosic singing of Janet Coxwell and Amy Haworth, who often hover a full angelic octave above the part below. A jealous Henry VIII probably heard it in 1527, an event that might have hastened Wolsey's downfall. ***** Observer, 01/11/15 /// It is hard to imagine a more radiant and uplifting performance than this new one. Performance ***** Recording ***** BBC Music Magazine, Christmas'15 /// Critics'Choice --Gramophone, Dec'15

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