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The Flowering Of Genius / The Sixteen


Release Date: 01/01/2003 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16001   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Thomas TallisTomás Luis de VictoriaJohn SheppardPhilippe de Monte,   ... 
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Choral music fans without doubt are ecstatic about the return of The Sixteen choir--on its own Coro label--and certainly won't mind too much that many of the performances originally issued on the old and sadly departed Collins label are returning, albeit repackaged and in some cases reprogrammed along with some previously unreleased material. This disc consists primarily of previously issued performances--from both Collins and Virgin Classics--but the program is designed to celebrate the glorious flowering of music arising from England's official but brief return to Roman Catholicism under Mary Tudor and her Spanish husband Philip II.


Thus, we hear once again the soaring, grand musical edifices that so perfectly
Read more embody, enhance, and complement the huge cathedral spaces for which they were written, works by the English Tallis, Byrd, and Sheppard, the Spanish Victoria and Guerrero, and the Belgian Philippe de Monte who for a time served in King Philip II's private chapel. Apparently new to The Sixteen's discography are several motets by Victoria, recorded in 1997, including O vos omnes and Super flumina Babylonis. Among the other highlights are the (reissued) sublimely beautiful Ave Virgo sanctissima by Guerrero, Tallis' Suscipe quaeso, de Monte's own setting of Super flumina, and Sheppard's monumental and magnificent Verbum caro.


The sound varies not a bit from the original incarnations of these performances, which means a somewhat bright, trebly cast that saturates and penetrates just a little too much in the loudest full-choir passages. The singing can't be bettered, however--no ensemble sustains those long lines in such shapely, elegant fashion nor builds tension through gradual crescendos, nor knows how to layer and interweave parts more effectively than The Sixteen at its best.


My only major concern about this release is the user-unfriendly packaging. The only proper track listings are on the outside back of the plastic jewel case. The liner note booklet contains only an informative discussion of the music along with texts--but the names of the composers don't appear next to the work titles, forcing you to have to go back and forth from liner notes to the jewel-box tray card. The back of the liner note booklet, a common place for track listings, times, and composers' names, contains nothing but promotional blurbs for other Coro releases and--in type so small it's nearly off the readability scale--a rundown on the origins of the various musical selections. Since this information is not on the outside of the package, a prospective buyer has no way of knowing if the performances are new or reissued. I strongly urge a clearer, more practical approach to future packaging. Fortunately, the music and performances merit the highest praise and are worth hearing over and over again.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Suscipe quaeso by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1559; England 
Date of Recording: 01/1998 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 9 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2. Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae: Tenebrae Responsories - O vos omnes by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1585; Spain 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3. Vere languores nostros ipse tulit by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1572; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 4 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4. O Domine Jesu Christe by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5. Mass à 7 "Puer natus est nobis": Agnus Dei by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1554; England 
Date of Recording: 01/1998 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 8 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6. Super flumina Babylonis by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1576; Spain 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 4 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7. Vadam, et circumibo civitatem by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Written: pub 1572 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 8 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1581; Spain 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
9. Verbum caro factum est by John Sheppard
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 1996 
Venue:  All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
10. Super flumina Babylonis by Philippe de Monte
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 09/1989 
Venue:  Boxgrove Priory, Sussex, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
11. Quomodo cantabimus? by William Byrd
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 09/1989 
Venue:  Boxgrove Priory, Sussex, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
12. Ave Virgo sanctissima by Francisco Guerrero
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Spain 
Date of Recording: 01/1998 
Venue:  St. Jude's on the Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

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