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ALLEGRI. Miserere. Tallis Scholars


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 8 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Gimell
  • ASIN: B000B865AA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

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Here's a wonderful introduction to Renaissance choral music, with two tried-and-true repertory standards and the Mundy, a gorgeously sensuous example of a lesser-known mid-16th-century work, whose complex polyphonic strands are rendered with compelling involvement by the Tallis Scholars. These performances were among the group's earliest recordings and helped catapult them into the forefront of specialists in this demanding repertoire. The Allegri became a favorite back in the 1970s, a sort of choral equivalent of Albinoni's Adagio, in which repetition serves as the driving force. The Tallis Scholars give it welcome variety through spatial placement in a large church and their colorful singing. Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli is one of that great composer's finest works. Its mastery of polyphony while clarifying the text is said to have convinced the Church to withhold its impending ban on polyphonic church music. The group sounds larger than its 21 members because of the acoustics, the clear diction of the Scholars, and the power of their singing, always transparent and involved. They use female sopranos instead of boys' voices, so there's more heft and color than we often hear from early-music groups. Vivid engineering makes the CD even more attractive. --Dan Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 23 2003
Format: Audio CD
--Allegri's Miserere--
Part of the power of the Miserere lies in its basic simplicity, which is one of the fundamental building blocks of spirituality. Indeed, legend has it that the Pope once decreed that it could only be performed at the Vatican, and only under conditions of special care due to its spiritual power. Legend continues that this monopoly was broken when Mozart (as a child) heard the piece and, from one hearing only, transcribed the music into print form and distributed it from there. Perhaps this is an embellishment, but it is a romantic story befitting the piece. The Miserere is based on Psalm 51 (Allegri's setting is but one of many), the great penitential psalm of the Lenten season. This sombre and searching spirituality permeates the music from start to finish. The high piercing notes recalling the piercing guilt and the pierced Christ cry over the mixture of voices that produce a most exquisite grumble of humanity in search of God.
--Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli-
Written at least a generation prior to Allegri's Miserere, Palestrina's Mass for Pope Marcellus II is likewise a composition in search of the absolute and absolving God. Reacting to an overly ornate liturgy of the Roman Catholic church in the face of popular and growing Reformation types, Palestrina became a great champion for music that preserved both the grandeur of the liturgy as well as the accessibility of the message and language for the people. The lower vocals make the Mass a part of the people, rather than existing on high, inaccessible.
--William Mundy's Vox Patris caelestis-
Mundy's work is roughly contemporary with that of Palestrina (mid to late 1500s).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "quia-nihil-sum" on April 13 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm quite sure there must be many people like me,who early on in their record collecting career,heard a brief excerpt of Allegri's "Miserere" over the radio perhaps,or on a film soundtrack,and exclaimed: "What is that !" and "why don't I own something that beautiful ?"; "Take me to it at once !!".In my case I rushed out to my local record shop (after carefully consulting my "bible" i.e "The Penguin Guide to Classical CDs") and was fortunate enough to find this lovely Tallis Scholars recording just waiting there for me.Now,there are some excellent "Misereres" available elsewhere,with brilliant boy soloists soaring magically up to those spine-tingling high Cs,but this recording is something apart and special.For a start,it is a girl (the excellent Alison Stamp) who has the solo limelight,and also Peter Philips,the director,had the brilliant notion of seperating the solo group of the choir,and placing them at the far end of Merton College Chapel.Not only does this fully exploit the fantastic acoustics of the building,but it creates the marvellous effect of making the piece come across almost as a dialogue between Heaven and Earth.It's a truly otherworldly listening experience,and should not be missed by anyone who claims to love music.
William Mundy's "Vox Patris Caelestis" (The Voice of the heavenly Father) is a celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,and borrows heavily from the Song of Solomon.Perhaps at first you might think it doesn't quite have the appeal of the other two items on this disc,but it does repay repeated listening,and with the barely reined in passion of it's final verse provides a most satisfying sonic bridge between the more subdued beauties of the other masterworks.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Absolutely ethereal. This music and this performance takes you to a rarer and finer world than we normally live in
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To find fault with this recording is to find fault with music itself. The BBC chose this as one of the 50 greatest recordings ever made, and I am inclined to agree.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brendan on Aug. 9 2001
Format: Audio CD
Before buying this recording, I had heard much about Allegri's famous Miserere, but never listened to the entire piece. I admit that I still don't know why it's so famous, but I assume that it has more to do with the heavily embellished performances in the Sistine Chapel than with the music, which has virtually no substance. Put another way, if Mozart had lived during the Rennaissance, this would be the kind of piece he would have written at the age of five--pretty, repetetive, formulaic, with virtually static harmony and plain melody, repeated note for note no less than five times. Although the Tallis Scholarrs' shear beauty of sound and treatment of acoustic are mesmerizing in themselves, the piece doesn't stand up to repeated listenings, at least to my ears.
But no matter; the rest of the CD is more than worth its price. The tempi in the Palestrina Mass are often on the slow side, which took me a while to get used to--moments like "et resurexit" didn't come accross as exultantly as one might expect--but after several listenings I came to realize that as an overall approach it works perfectly, and every strand of polyphony is clearly audible. The total effect is one of radiant spiritual calm and beauty. Listening to Palestrina requires putting aside the expectations acquired from four centuries of later music and becoming receptive to the extraordinarily subtle, masterly way he responds to the text. It is truly a masterpiece of the sixteenth century, and here beautifully performed.
For me, though, the high point of the recording was the almost totally unknown Vox Patris Caelestis.
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