COMPOSERS: Anerio,Guerrero,Holten,Jackson,Josquin Des Prez,Ockeghem,Tallis etc,Victoria
WORKS: Choral music by Jackson, Guerrero, Josquin des Prez, Victoria, Anerio, Ockeghem, Holten, Tallis etc
PERFORMER: National Youth Choir of Great Britain/Mike Brewer
CATALOGUE NO: DCD 34045
Gabriel Jackson, whose 2005 work commemorating Tallis’s quincentenary year opens this disc, describes the pieces included in this programme as ‘pre-echoes and aftershocks’ of Tallis’s monumental, radiantly beautiful Spem in Alium for 40-part choir. Yet nowhere in any of these works does technical complexity inhibit musicality or artistic expression.
The two other contemporary pieces, Tarik O’Regan’s I Sleep, But My Heart Waketh (in a meagre eight parts) and Bo Holten’s In Nomine, fit in well with the Renaissance pieces. In fact, the swells of sound in the Deo Gracia, attributed to Ockegham, sound the most startlingly modern.
The recorded sound, though, is rather soft-focused, and the middle voices suffer most. So if your main interest is Tallis, try the Magnificat Choir on Linn or, less technically perfect but full of character and commitment, the 1965 recording by the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge under David Willcocks on Decca. Overall, though, this is a disc of stunning music beautifully performed. Barry Witherden