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The Phoenix Rising / Stile Antico

Stile Antico
Release Date: 08/13/2013 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 807572  
Composer:  William ByrdOrlando GibbonsThomas MorleyThomas Tallis,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here’s one that somehow slipped out of last year’s review lineup, but deserves not to be missed by anyone who loves what’s known as “Tudor Church Music”–English sacred choral repertoire from the 16th/early-17th centuries, represented by composers such as Byrd, Tallis, and Gibbons. Much of this music was “revived” in the 1920s with the publication of the 10-volume Tudor Church Music, and some of the more popular selections from that collection are featured on this program.

In modern times, let’s say since the 1980s, groups such as The Tallis Scholars played a significant role in exciting renewed attention to parts of this repertoire–and along with it, recognition of its major
Read more composers–by listeners all over the world–a phenomenon that coincided with new interest in recordings due to the advent of the CD and digital technology as well as the rise of the period-performance movement and the so-called “early music revival”. Needless to say, if you want to hear this music sung by the new generation of specialist advocates, this is the group that will not fail to give you the most polished ensemble sound and technique yet always projecting an expressive aspect that recognizes the human/emotional pertinence of the texts.

Byrd’s “five-part” Mass may not be quite as popular with choirs as the “four-part”, but its music is just as affecting and textually effective. Stile Antico wisely intersperses its movements with the program’s other nine pieces, including the motet Ave verum corpus, undoubtedly Byrd’s most celebrated work, Gibbons’ beloved anthem Almighty and everlasting God, and Tallis’ extraordinary In ieiunio et fletu and Salvator mundi (I), any one of which could serve as an ideal representative of Stile Antico’s artistry. Music of this style and period presents many ensemble challenges, but none is more important to master than being able to “pull together” an ending, which often involves extended and harmony-rich cadential closes–and we hear some especially impressive examples of Stile Antico’s mastery in the Salvator mundi, Robert White’s monumental Portio mea, Tallis’ In ieiunio and the Agnus Dei of the Byrd Mass.

Although White’s music is lesser known (and interestingly wasn’t included in the widely popular Oxford University Press collection of “Tudor Church Music” published in the 1970s, titled Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems), it can stand equally with that of any of the other composers represented here; Portio mea (from Psalm 119) is a masterpiece of expressive power, using varied textures, sustained harmonic drives, an often soaring soprano line, and, at its end, one of the more stunning displays of harmonic/melodic confrontation/resolution that you’ll ever hear. (The Tallis Scholars’ pioneering version of this work, recorded a whole tone higher, sounds surprisingly thin and bright compared to Stile Antico’s warmly resonant, full-bodied rendition.) If this isn’t enough, you can be assured that you won’t hear a better reading of Byrd’s zillion-times-recorded Ave verum corpus, or Tallis’ equally honored Nolo mortem peccatoris. The production values and sound, from London’s St-Jude-on-the-Hill, are first rate. As I said at the beginning: don’t miss this one.

– David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Gradualia, Volume 1: Part 2 - Ave verum corpus by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1605; England 
Mass for 5 Voices by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1595; England 
O clap your hands by Orlando Gibbons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 17th Century; England 
Almighty and everlasting God by Orlando Gibbons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 17th Century; England 
Nolo mortem peccatoris by Thomas Morley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Salvator mundi by Thomas Tallis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
In jejunio et fletu by Thomas Tallis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1559; England 
O splendor gloriae by John Taverner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Porcio mea, Domine by Robert White
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Christe qui lux es IV by Robert White
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 

Featured Sound Samples

Ave verum corpus (Byrd)
Almighty and Everlasting God (Gibbons)
O splendor gloriae (Taverner)

Sound Samples

Ave verum corpus
Salvator mundi [I]
Mass for five voices: Kyrie eleison
Mass for five voices: Gloria in excelsis Deo
Nolo mortem peccatoris
O clap your hands together
Mass for five voices: Credo
Portio mea
Christe qui lux es et dies [IV]
Almighty and everlasting God
Mass for five voices: Sanctus & Benedictus
In ieiunio et fletu
Mass for five voices: Agnus Dei
O splendor gloriae

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 When Angels Sing June 27, 2014 By L. Majors (Bartlesville, OK) See All My Reviews "Stile Antico continues their brilliant exploration of Tudor polyphony with The Phoenix Rising. This recording features William Byrd's Mass for five voices, but also includes works by Gibbons,Morley, Tallis, Taverner, and White. When I listen to Stile Antico the question always comes to mind, "Is this what it is like to hear Angel's sing ?" Highly recommended." Report Abuse
 absolutely glorious January 3, 2014 By Carol L. (Houston, TX) See All My Reviews "the singing is beautiful and the selection of pieces is quite good. We listened over and over and particularly like super audio. More like this please." Report Abuse
 Amoung the best, ever! August 11, 2013 By Brian Kane (Savage, MN) See All My Reviews "Many Minnesotan's were fortunate to hear this ensemble in person at the Basilica of St. Mary (Minneapolis) earlier this year ('13). The best small group I have ever heard! Very few choral groups perfect balance. Stile Antico does. Do yourself a favor, order this one.!" Report Abuse
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