Collection: Live in Oxford

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Byrd,Mundy,Obrecht,Tallis & Josquin,Taverner
LABELS: Gimell
WORKS: Works by Taverner, Obrecht, Mundy, Byrd, Tallis & Josquin
PERFORMER: Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips
CATALOGUE NO: 454 998-2

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This disc celebrates 25 years since Peter Phillips directed his first concert ever, in 1973. He generously acknowledges the influences upon him, in particular The Clerkes of Oxenford. The Tallis Scholars have, in turn, developed a tonal purity which is unsurpassed.

Their superb tuning, all the harder to achieve with two voices only to a part, generates a magnificent sonority. For this commemorative disc, they have returned to the clear, warm acoustics of Merton College Chapel, Oxford, venue for nine of their early recordings. The result is enthralling, from the impeccably pure plainchant opening of Obrecht’s Salve regina to the seamless six-part richness of Byrd’s Tribue, Domine.

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A high point is Tallis’s brief meditation on the mystery of the Mass, O sacrum convivium, deliciously coloured by characteristically English harmonic clashes. Mundy’s Vox patris is on a monumental scale, nine verses of quasi-erotic adoration of the Virgin. The most remarkable colour is Josquin’s dark lament, Absalon fili mi, lower voices only descending ‘weeping into hell’ in starkly angular lines. The recorded sound is superb, at a distance but cleanly etched. This is a glorious testimony to a golden age of music, and to a silver jubilee of unsurpassed musicians. George Pratt