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Spem in Alium DVD-a (DVD Audio) DVD Audio, NTSC

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A glimpse of the infinite Jan. 20 2007
By Steven Guy - Published on
Spem In Alium is probably one of the greatest musical compositions in human history. It is utterly unparalleled. Tallis's forty voiced motet is a British answer to Alessandro Striggio's "Ecce beatum lucem" which was also "à 40 voci". Striggio's work is great, too, but there is something utterly transcendental about Tallis's masterpiece. It is the musical equivalent of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings. Only Antoine Brumel's Missa "et ecce terræ motus" à 12 voci has a similar effect on me.
Music that is hypnotic, intoxicating, staggering, awesome, awe inspiring, dream-like, grand and "a wild flight of the human imagination". The mother of all "swoon" music.

The rest of the CD contains other great works by Thomas Tallis, including the complete Missa Salve intemerata, all of which you will grow to enjoy, love and own in your inner mind. However, this is a remarkably cheap CD and it is really worth having for the Oxford Camerata's sublime interpretation of the Spem In Alium alone.

Note the line up of the hugely augmented Oxford Camerata in this recording - many of the singers are well known as excellent solo singers. Robin Blaze, Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram and Richard Wyn Roberts are here, to name but a few.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Never Really Bursts from the Chaos March 20 2011
By Matthew Pearson - Published on
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I might have to come back and revise this review after a few more listens, but right now, I'm somewhat disappointed in this recording of Spem in alium. Up front-- I think that the Tallis Scholars' interpretation is one of the greatest recordings ever put to any medium period. The reason I'm so drawn to their recording, I think, is that the moments when the choirs sing synchronously there is a definite moment when all of the voices snap into focus that separates what came before from what comes after, the briefest beat of silence before the apparent chaos aligns into glorious, transcendent order. I like that, it's very powerful, but I recognize that as an aesthetic preference and an interpretive choice. Silences can be very resonant. But what I wanted this to be is a 4 channel recreation of that very sharply focused presentation.

This recording's lines are softer. The synchronous sections slowly emerge from the "chaotic" sections (of course, I don't think it's *actually* chaotic, but that's the way that I envision it-- chaos and order pulling pushing against one another). It's not as emotionally satisfying to me, I suppose is how I could put it.

The other problem is very likely due to where this was recorded (at least i hope it wasn't a post-production choice)-- a tremendous amount of reverberation which further takes the piece out of focus. It sounds like it was recorded in a stone cathedral, which is where it would have been performed originally, of course, but the echoy reverberations make the multidirectionality of the recording less apparent as voices echo around and bleed across multiple channels and make it harder to appreciate the positioning of each choir.

Again, it's not *terrible* at ALL. It's quite pleasant to listen to and is very likely the closest that I will ever get to a true performance of this amazing piece of music. It is, in many ways, quite astounding and if you were to go in with few or no preconceptions of what it "should" sound like (I admit that I may have brought too many expectations and preconceptions to my listening) you will very likely be knocked on your butt listening to this through a multi-channel system balanced for music. It's hard to give it a star rating because I can't NOT recommend this, but at the same time, I have to reflect my disappointment.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking Performance March 25 2007
By Gary - Published on
Verified Purchase
A "must have" for any serious collection. The choral renditions are masterful and the technical quality of the DVD is superlative. On a quality sound system, this recording will bring tears to your eyes.
Tallis: Spem in alium [DVD Audio] May 25 2011
By Joe Appierto - Published on
Verified Purchase
An absolutely beautiful recording that highlights the superiority of DVD-A recordings over many standard CD-redbook efforts. The music itself is ethereal. Highly recommended.