<< -- 2 -- Malcolm Tattersall WITHOUT CAROLS
The style is, uniformly, flowing polyphony in as few as four parts and as many as twelve. One might have expected the joy of the Nativity
[listen -- track 3, 0:01-1:27]
to contrast more strongly with the lamentations over the slaughter of the infants
[listen -- track 8, 0:00-0:50]
than it does.
With such a small range of tempo and dynamic, lack of variety in the endless web of glorious sound becomes an issue. One listens for the brief moments of pure magic, moments such as the hushed ending of Clemens' O magnum mysterium
[listen -- track 5, 6:57-8:14],
the harmonic daring of the final cadence of Tallis' Gloria in excelsis Deo
[listen -- track 6, 8:27-9:22],
or the splendid close of Palestrina's 12-voice Nunc dimittis
[listen -- track 12, 2:31-3:15].
Throughout, the sopranos soar effortlessly over the lower voices. The recorded sound is lovely and the acoustic strikes a good balance between clarity and warmth.
This is Christmas music for those who despise O Come, All Ye Faithful as modern rubbish, or for those who just want a change from the standard Christmas fare, and music for the whole year for listeners who appreciate fine choral singing.
Copyright © 19 December 2006
Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia
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Christmas to Candlemas
TP192 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 70'39" 2006 Tall Poppies Records
Ensemble Gombert; John O'Donnell, director
Jean Mouton (c1459-1522): Nesciens mater a 8; Josquin Desprez (c1450-1521): Praeter rerum seriem a 6; Andreas de Silva (c1475-?): Puer natus est nobis a 5; Nicolas Gombert (c1495-c1560): Hodie nobis caelorum Rex; Clemens non Papa (1510/15-1555/6): O magnum mysterium a 6; Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585): Gloria in excelsis Deo from Missa Puer natus est nobis a 7; Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Quem vidistis, pastores? a 6; Clemens non Papa: Vox in Rama a 4; Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594): Omnes de Saba venient a 8; John Sheppard (c1515-1559/60): Reges Tharsis et insulae a 6; Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594): Senex puerum portabat a 5; Nunc dimittis a 12