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Taverner: Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas / Christophers, Sixteen

Release Date: 05/09/2000 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55052   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John Taverner
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is an issue of the first importance. Taverner's Gloria tibi Trinitas is perhaps the finest and most beautifully assembled of all early Tudor Mass cycles. He handles his six-voice texture with consummate ease, carefully placing his climaxes among a wonderful play of varied groupings and never allowing his musical invention to flag. Here he shows with astonishing clarity how his endlessly resourceful range of rhythmic ideas virtually eliminates the musical small-change that can make the ear weary of his lesser contemporaries. And every detail of the work seems stamped with that indefinable quality that marks the truly universal masterpiece in any artistic genre. So the first recording of the Mass in the British catalogue deserves the Read more warmest welcome.

As before, the Sixteen use women for the boys' lines—with the various advantages and disadvantages which that entails. But they are now following current thought in using solo voices for the reduced-texture sections. They also adopt the present orthodoxy that Tudor music should sound a minor third higher than modern concert pitch; and while it may still be some time before the last word on that particular topic has been said it is easy to accept that the clarity of their buoyant texture justifies their approach in musical terms. The only drawback is that some of the voices sound tired towards the end and the performance fails to rise to the full riches of the marvellous Agnus Dei.

Indeed my main reservation about the interpretation is that Harry Christophers is so reserved in his approach. Like many people, I believe that some performers of Tudor music (and much else) have worked rather too hard to inject new life of their own into the music and have been reluctant to allow the music to speak for itself; but Christophers seems to me to go too far in the other direction. Even so, this is a highly polished performance of a key work in our musical heritage. It unquestionably merits a place in every serious record collection.

-- Gramophone [10/1984]
reviewing the original LP release
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Works on This Recording

Missa "Gloria tibi Trinitas" by John Taverner
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Audivi vocem de coelo by John Taverner
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 

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