Various: Sacred Music in the Renaissance Vol. 3 (Si Bona Suscepimus/ Magnificat/ Salve Regina/ Stabat Iuxta) Box set
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The Tallis Scholars finest recordings presented in this the 3rd of three volumes, one for each decade, and each offering over five hours of the award-winning performances that helped establish the sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of western classical music.
I remember the first time I heard the Tallis Scholars: 1980, Allegri's Miserere, the voices perfectly framed in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, and the ethereal beauty of Alison Stamp's solo treble soaring into the acoustic - all for £1.99 on a Classics for Pleasure LP. It still sounds so fresh, and a perfect opening for this 30th birthday celebration. Volume 3 brings us the 21st-century Tallis Scholars and the first recording of Gombert's cycle of expressively adventurous Magnificat settings. The Allegri is revisited, and redecorated, and the box ends with Masses by Josquin, their current preoccupation. Recording quality is superb throughout, and presentation is excellent with notes in three languages, and a fourth booklet in each box for texts. The sequencing has been done with real care, and for an overview of Sacred Music in the Renaissance, this could be all you need. Yes, for some the Tallis Scholars are too clean, too objective. Too perfect? That's a problem I wish I had more often. --BBC Music Magazine,Dec'10
Top customer reviews
In this set Peter Philips has chosen from a small number of discs, preferring to include virtually complete original recordings rather than selections from a large number. This means that you get the complete contents of two of my favourite Tallis Scholars discs: the two fantastic Josquin masses on Disc 4 and possibly my favourite of all, the five motets by John Browne from the Eton Choirbook, which are simply sublime. The rest is absolutely terrific stuff, too, (although I have to take the Gombert Magnificats just one or two at a time) and the whole set is full of wonderful music.
As to the singing - it's magnificent. The Tallis Scholars' trademark immaculate tuning, ideal blend and balance and crystal clarity are there throughout, as is their real engagement with the text. The recorded sound is impeccable and ideally suited to the group's sound, and the notes and full texts are excellent.
You simply can't go wrong at this price for four discs of magnificent music, beautifully sung. Very warmly recommended indeed.
I will however remark on the excellence of presentation. So often with budget boxed set compilations or re-issues like this one, you get nothing more than the discs themselves. This set contains three separate booklets of notes in English, French and German respectively, plus a fourth booklet with the full sung texts along with information on each recording including date and personnel. The cardboard sleeve encompassing each disc contains a full track listing on the front. Furthermore, on importing to iTunes the entire content of the discs is incorporated into one single album title rather than being scattered about all over the shop unlike most 'classical' sets. A first class effort by Gimell, great value and well presented - other publishers take note.
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