Top positive review
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Magnificent. An unqualified Rosette.
on 11 May 2004
A superb disc - ravishing performances and a wonderfully natural recording. The Spem In Alium was, like the Sixteen version, recorded in the round. I had it on redbook HDCD stereo and this is one of only two discs I've replaced with the same performance on SACD, it's that good. By the way, don't worry about repertoire repetition with the Sixteen disc, - the only item in common is the Spem, which lasts about 9 minutes, and each disc gives you another hour's worth of unduplicated repertoire in addition. Everything on this new SACD is by Tallis, whereas the sixteen disc features a number of other composers. Both discs are absolute essentials (for me anyway)
The surround mix is excellent, - not as 360 degree as the Sixteen on Coro but that latter performance, whilst excellent is a little artificial and glassy compared to the natural and intense sound of this Magnificat disc. Judging by the rear illustration, the Magnificat disc seems to have been recorded with just two high mounted mikes and the result is both thrilling and "real". The acoustic throughout is marvellous and the voices have a beautifully grainy yet vivid quality.
As for the performances, that of the Spem In Alium is unmatched even by the Tallis Scholars and the Sixteen (and that's the case even though all three discs feature some singers in common). This new one has an enraptured ardour about it which is really special, - you may forget to breath at times, it's that beautiful. All the performances, though, are wonderful, including the four part mass I'd never heard before, - a treasure of the Elizabethan age.
The artistic achievement is matched by one of the best recordings I've ever heard. I can't praise this disc highly enough. Five stars doesn't do it justice.