Home listening - the Tallis Scholars, the Sixteen, the Marian Consort and more

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The Guardian

Fine new releases showcase two sides of Josquin and host of British choral music. Plus, a thrilling Verdi Requiem

• Founded by their director, Peter Phillips, in 1973, the Tallis Scholars still ride high among small vocal ensembles – lithe, pure-sounding and vigorous as ever in performance of Renaissance polyphony. Their latest disc of Josquin’s Missa Guadeamus and Missa L’ami Baudichon (Gimmell) exceeds expectation. These two sharply contrasting works, one bristling with mathematical patterns, the other based on a vulgar popular song, comprise the seventh of nine albums in the Tallis Scholars’ series of Josquin’s 19 highly distinctive masses, to be completed by the composer’s 500th anniversary in 2021.

• It’s a good time for excellent British choral releases: the Sixteen’s rapturously sung Star of Heaven (Coro) combines music from the Eton Choirbook with new commissions by Joseph Phibbs, Phillip Cooke, James MacMillan and Marco Galvani, as well as Hallowed by Stephen Hough. The latest from the six-strong Marian Consort, brilliant discoverers, and exponents, of rare repertoire, is Pater peccavi: Music of Lamentations from Renaissance Portugal (Delphian): rich, ecstatic. In contrast, Juice Vocal Ensemble’s new disc Snow Queens (Resonus) is spare and haunting, consisting of new works or arrangements of old (by Kerry Andrew, Emily Hall, Tarik O’Regan and others) for three high voices – two sopranos and alto: songs of winter (including a few carols, wonderfully refreshed) for a white landscape.

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Sun Nov 04 09:00:27 CET 2018