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Best O/T Renaissance [Classical, Best of]

Tallis Scholars Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 37.95
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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. Miserere
2. Spem In Alium
3. Mass For Five Voices: Kyrie
4. Mass For Five Voices: Gloria
5. Mass For Five Voices: Credo
6. Mass For Five Voices: Sanctus - Benedictus
7. Mass For Five Voicesd: Agnus Dei
8. Missa 'Pange lingua': Kyrie
9. Missa 'Pange lingua': Gloria
10. Missa 'Pange lingua': Credo
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: Recessit pastor noster
2. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: O vos omnes
3. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: Ecce quomodo moritur justus
4. Missa Papae Marcelli: Kyrie
5. Missa Papae Marcelli: Gloria
6. Missa Papae Marcelli: Credo
7. Missa Papae Marcelli: Sanctus - Benedictus
8. Missa Papae Marcelli: Agnus Dei I - II - III
9. Osculetur me
10. Salve Regina
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Product Description


As hateful and usually untrue as most "Best of" collections are, this one is the real thing. You actually do get two hours and 20 minutes of Renaissance music performed so exquisitely, so correctly, and so passionately that it's as if an entire era in music makes itself understood through these CDs. The Tallis Scholars are as good as it gets in this repertoire. In addition to getting Allegri's gorgeous Miserere, you'll find Thomas Tallis's 40-part (40!) Spem in alium, some wonderfully weird and dissonant Responsories by Gesualdo, Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli (the "how-to" piece of the Renaissance popes, who demanded that the words be understood), and various other works. This stuff is like a finely woven tapestry and should be listened to bits at a time--it's amazingly rich and worth it. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Some great Renaissance choral music Feb. 1 2004
When I recently played the first disk of this collection in the small bookstore/café where I work, a customer told me she had been trying to read but couldn't because she was so captivated by this CD's sublime music.
Although I am a sort of purist who hates when people say they listen to classical music just to relax, I find this CD set is perfect for inspiring reflection and relaxation. So, if you're looking for good music to relax to, this would be an excellent purchase.
The same goes if you're looking for some great Renaissance music. However, the term "Best of the Renaissance" may be a bit of a misnomer; the CD does not include a vast array of music from the said era. This collection is solely /a cappella/ music. Perhaps a more fitting title would be "The Best of Renaissance Choral Music." If you're looking for a broad sampling of music from this time period in one CD collection, this may not be for you. Nevertheless, if you want well performed choral music by some great composers, I recommend this CD to both Renaissance neophytes and aficionados without reservation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but overpraised Dec 29 2003
The Best of the Renaissance is certainly worth buying if only for the amazing "Spem in Alium" by Thomas Tallis.Nevertheless, I do not share the boundless enthusiasm of other reviewers for this album.
To begin with, three Masses are featured on this album,two on the first cd. That is too much to my liking. And while the Mass Pange Lingua by Desprez is undoubtedly a wonderful piece, the other masses are not the best: the Mass for five voices by Byrd, while very beautiful, lacks the depth, emotion and intimacy of his Mass for three voices. The Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina is brilliant but nothing more than an academic exercise in virtuosity.
And I definitely do not appreciate Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday. This is simply very mediocre music that nobody would care for if it did not sound modern in its cerebral ugliness and thereby flatter our infatuation with ourselves.
I recommend "The Essential Tallis Scholars" either instead of or in addition to "The Best of the Renaissance", depending on your pocket and interest for Renaissance choral music. I would also recommend O Magnum Mysterium by the Robert Shaw festival singers. Although only a third of that album is devoted to Renaissance music, the interpretation is so beautiful and spiritual that it is really worth having in your Renaissance music collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A superb overview of Renaissance polyphony Feb. 22 2000
For those looking for a wonderful and truly awe-inspiring overview of sacred music of the Renaissance, I highly recommend this CD, with this proviso: You'll spend quite a bit more money and time than you ever planned on buying and listening to more and more Renaissance music.
This CD does a superb job of giving us bits and pieces of 200 years of music, spanning from the turn of the 15th century and Josquin Desprez to the very late Renaissance and Allegri's incomparable Miserere Me. The one reason to choose this CD over the Silver offering is the fact that this one contains 3 whole masses - Byrd, Josquin, and Palestrina; this allows for some delightful comparison of 3 masses composed at different times and under differing circumstances in this era.
Enough said - do yourself a favour and have a listen - you will not regret it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I could ask for. July 14 2001
I love these pieces. Speaking as one who sings such pieces, Tallis's Spem in Alium is one of a kind. 8 five voice choirs woven seamlessly together (that's what Spem in Alium is) - well, the very idea is impressive; a performance like this one makes it sublime. The three masses are a big plus, too. It's interesting to hear the progression from Gregorian-esque chant and Perotin-like polyphony to later works. I love both extremes and everything in between. Another bonus is that free sheet music ([...]) is available for many of the tracks, which is nice if you, like me, would just as soon sing your part as listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart & Allegri Nov. 26 2000
By A Customer
This CD contains, to my knowledge, the best recorded performance of the sublime Miserere by Gregorio Allegri. There is a famous story of Mozart going to the Sistine Chapel to hear the Allegri Miserere when he was fourteen years old. After having heard it, he asked to see the score and was denied permission. He when to a second performance, and sat "as if in a trance" and returned to write out the piece from memory...making only two mistakes, which in fact turned out to be mistakes that the singers had made in the performance.
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If you are building a classical music library and want to find some good recordings of High Renaissance (16th Century) music, this is a good place to begin. The selections contain good samplings from many countries. The choir is wonderful to listen to. The amazing 40-part Spem in alium is worth the price of the CD alone. Unfortunately, the liner notes do not include translations of the songs, but even so, the CD is worth having.
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