Thursday, 19 May 2016

Josquin - Missa de Beata Virgine etc - Tallis Scholars/Phillips

Rating: 5/5


This is an absolute stunner of a disc. Ever since their recording of the Missa Pange Lingua became the first early music disc to win the Gramophone Record of the Year award in 1987, the Tallis Scholars have shown a real affinity with Josquin and this is a terrific addition to their growing canon of Josquin recordings.

The two masses here are both canonic in structure, allowing Josquin's astonishing compositional skill to shine and it is fascinating to listen to the virtuosic structures running through these pieces, but the overall impression is of a wonderful, limpid beauty. The disc is simply ravishingly lovely from start to finish. The Tallis Scholars sing with their trademark perfection of intonation and rock-solid technique, which allows them really to engage with the meaning of the text and, without any appearance of artifice, imbue it with a real meaning. Both musically and spiritually, I find this disc a quite remarkable experience.

Peter Phillips's notes are, as always, interesting and very readable and the presentation is very attractive. I have been a fan of the Tallis Scholars for over thirty years now and this has taken its place among my best-loved discs. Recommended in the warmest possible terms.

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