WORKS: Missa Salve Intemerata; Ave dei patris filia; Ave rosa sine spinis
PERFORMER: Chapelle du Roi/Alistair Dixon
CATALOGUE NO: SIG 001 (distr. Signum, tel 0171 385 6489)
The first disc in this series devoted to the complete works of Tallis concentrates on his early sacred music, including the antiphon Salve intemerata— one of his finest youthful works — and the Mass derived from it.
The Chapelle du Roi is a choir of just ten young singers, and these intimate performances approximate the sound Tallis might have heard during the early years of his career, though with female sopranos replacing boy trebles. These are fresh, unaffected accounts, using the predominantly slow tempi that seem to have been prevalent in sacred music of this period. Despite one or two rough edges in the more exposed passages for single voices, the standard of singing is exceptionally high. What’s more, the project has been diligently planned and researched, with several of the pieces newly edited for performance, and excellent notes by Nicholas Sandon. The Chapelle du Roi will be an unfamiliar name to many people, but the quality of this disc will surely put these talented performers on the musical map. Kate Bolton