- Missa "Et Ecce Terrae Motus," for 12 voices
- Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem
- Missa Osculetur me, for 8 voices, H. x/187
- Missa "Au travail suis", for 4 voices
- Missa de apostolis, mass for 6 voices
This double CD collects a group of Tallis Scholars recordings from the late 1980s and 1990s at a budget price, and it offers value for the money for anyone who enjoys the a cappella Renaissance masses. This all-adult, mixed-gender English group has always been among the best choices in the music of the High Renaissance, and not only in that from Britain. Director Peter Phillips generally favors a sound with a pair of singers per part, a demanding task to which his choristers respond with perfect accuracy. Thus, the size of the group grew and contracted for these specific recordings, but all were recorded in the same location: Norfolk, England's Church of Saints Peter and Paul. The sound is ravishing throughout. The program is oriented toward lesser-known Renaissance masterpieces featuring some kind of unusual sonority, not toward the big names of Josquin or Byrd. The "Missa de Apostolis" of Heinrich Isaac is an alternatim setting alternating chant and six-voice polyphony with some very pungent cadences. Radio programmers, note the unusually long silences predecing the music here. From there, the program proceeds to the subtle "Missa Au travail suis" of Ockeghem before finishing out with three progressively larger and more splendid works; double-choir masses by Lassus and Cipriano de Rore, neither terribly well known, and finally the 12-voice "Missa Et ecce terre motus," or Earthquake Mass, of Antoine Brumel, so called because it is based on a chant referring to the earthquake said to have followed Christ's crucifixion. This is a little-known landmark of the music of the sixteenth century, and it's not an easy piece for any choir. If you can sample, dip into the 14-minute Sanctus and Benedictus, and hear how the Tallis Scholars' focus holds up the piece's almost symphonic architecture. This release will help fill out any shelf of Renaissance choral music with pieces that should really be there.