Byrd/Tallis: Motets; Lamentations of Jeremiah

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COMPOSERS: Byrd/Tallis
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Motets; Lamentations of Jeremiah
PERFORMER: The King’s Singers
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68004 2 DDD
Billed as a ‘meditative journey through time’, Introitus is an elegantly repackaged collection of medieval masterpieces (recorded 1982-92), intended to serve as an antidote to the dissonances of everyday life. Moreover, from the inspirational purity of Josquin’s Ave Maria to the lush chordal textures of de la Rue’s brief but intensely moving Salutaris hostia or Dunstable’s richly ornate Veni sancte spiritus, the Hilliard’s exquisitely balanced ensemble is breathtakingly effective.


The King’s Singers demonstrate superb dynamic control and purity of line in Tallis’s Lamentations of Jeremiah, which provide the centrepiece of their issue. The vividly clear recording is rather close for my taste, but it does add emphasis to the music’s emotional content. Try the delightful rhythmic vitality in Byrd’s jubilant Haec dies or Laudibus in sanctis (which open and close the programme), the serene calm of Tallis’s contemplative If ye love me, or the arresting vigour of Byrd’s Vigilate.


The spiritual quality and expressive power of these fine performances make both discs extremely attractive contributions to the current wave of new recordings of this repertoire. Nicholas Rast