Tallis Scholars sing Palestrina

Tallis Scholars sing Palestrina

by The Tallis Scholars


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Tallis Scholars sing Palestrina

The Tallis Scholars have done a lot to keep Palestrina's star up there in the firmament during a wild, sensual age that generally has preferred wilder, more sensual music from the late Renaissance. By their count, they have performed the famed "Missa Papae Marcelli" (Pope Marcellus Mass) alone 75 times since first programming it in 1977. The group's approach to this musical exemplar of the middle-of-the-road principles of the Catholic Counter Reformation is exacting but not restrictive of surface beauty; the Tallis Scholars are a mixed choir capable of extraordinary gradations of blend, not a "pure" boychoir devoted to a Grail of historical authenticity. Their catalog of Palestrina recordings on England's Gimell label has been successful and rapturously reviewed. The Tallis Scholars Sing Palestrina is a compilation of earlier recordings, the first of which, that of the "Missa Papae Marcelli," was made in Oxford's Merton College Chapel and dates from 1980. It's a fine survey of work by a group that's arguably the best in the business when it comes to this repertoire. Four full masses are included: the "Missa Assumpta est Maria in caelum," "Missa sicut lilium inter spinas," and "Missa brevis" in addition to the "Missa Papae Marcelli." There are also the two motets upon which the first two of these masses were based, and a set of "Lamentations" that show a darker-hued side of Palestrina's music. To appreciate something of the sound engineer's art and also to immerse yourself in the precision with which this choir renders Palestrina's ultra-gracefully transitioned textures, compare the "Missa brevis" on the second CD, also recorded at Merton College Chapel, with the concluding "Missa Papae Marcelli." The former is sonically bright and bold, the latter warm and enfolding, and each captures different facets of the diamond that is the sound of the Tallis Scholars. If there must be a complaint, it's that Michelangelo, who represented everything Palestrina was reacting against, was a poor choice for the cover artwork. These are classic recordings of Renaissance music, library cornerstones, and worthy sustainers of the tradition of English choral singing.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/08/2005
Label: Gimell Uk
UPC: 0755138120426
catalogNumber: 204
Rank: 49689


  1. Assumpta est Maria in caelum, Plainchant
  2. Assumpta es Maria, motet for 6 voices
  3. Missa Assumpta est Maria, for 6 voices
  4. Sicut lilium inter spinas, motet for 5 voices (from Motets Book I)
  5. Missa Sicut lilium inter spinas, for 5 voices
  6. Lamentationum Hieremiae Prophetae for 5 & 6 voices: Holy Saturday: Lesson 3 for 6 voices
  7. Missa Brevis, for 4 voices
  8. Missa Papae Marcelli, for 6 voices

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