Saturday, 2 September 2017

Sheppard - Media vita etc - Westminster Cathedral Choir/Baker

Rating: 5/5

A fabulous disc

I love this disc.  Purely as a matter of personal taste, I haven't always got on well with Westminster's recordings, generally preferring the smaller ensembles to this choir's larger, more churchy sound.  However, this is simply stunning.

The music here is truly wonderful.  Media Vita, in particular, is one of the true gems of English Tudor polyphony, and Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria and the Missa Cantate are both also very fine works.  Westminster Cathedral's choir has been a world-class ensemble for many years, of course, and for me this music suits them magnificently.  There is something about the English structure and cadences here which they catch perfectly, so the whole thing just glows with beauty.  They manage to preserve the clarity of individual lines while blending into a truly lovely whole, and there is s real sense of spirituality and engagement with the text they are singing.  It's an exemplary performance, I think.

I already own and love the superb recordings of Media Vita by The Tallis Scholars and Stile Antico.  This is just as good.  The presentation and recorded sound are up to Hyperion's usual excellent standard and it's a fabulous disc all round.  Very warmly recommended.

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