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Media vita

Media vita

This CD is extremely difficult to review because it is, well, perfect… perfectly sung, perfectly felt, perfect in every way.

Early Music America

Winner of the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Stile Antico’s fourth recording is entirely devoted to the remarkable music of John Sheppard. Once overshadowed by his illustrious contemporary Thomas Tallis, Sheppard is now recognised as a composer of extraordinary originality. The disc explores his achievement in wide range of forms, from enchanting English miniatures written during the Protestant reign of Edward VI to great Latin hymns, antiphons and responsories – chief amongst them the outstanding Media vita, one of the longest and most emotionally involving works of the entire Renaissance.

Recorded: March, 2009
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Format: Hybrid SACD
Catalogue Number: HMU807509

£11.99 (plus P&P)

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Classics Today 10/10, January 2010

Classics Today 10/10, January 2010

Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, II/2010

Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, II/2010

Stile Antico continues to set new standards for Renaissance polyphonic singing in this disc devoted to the 16th-century John Sheppard… the balance of vocal blend and individual voices takes you deep inside the music.

David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer (28 February, 2010)

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This is the fourth disc by Stile Antico, and the best yet. Their purity of sound, with a fullness achieved by only 14 voices, reveals Sheppard’s rich counterpoint. Despite this extraordinary finesse there’s no self-conscious beauty, only intelligent, vital simplicity.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer (10 January, 2010)

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This CD is extremely difficult to review because it is, well, perfect… you are transported inside the music, swept up by its transcendence. Stile Antico cuts to the heart of the text and music, presenting both aspects perfectly sung, perfectly felt, perfect in every way.

Beth Adelman, Early Music America (9 September, 2010)

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Sheppard… is quite a revelation, especially when sung with such unerring strength and clarity. From the relative simplicity of English word-settings such as The Lord’s Prayer to the grand, Latin architecture of the 25-minute Media Vita, this is awe-inspiringly beautiful music, gloriously performed.

EB, Classic FM Magazine (April 2010)

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Some of the most stunningly beautiful and moving choral singing I have ever heard.

GATENS, American Record Guide (June 2010)

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I was blown away by the happy surprise of this near-flawless recording… Stile Antico is a remarkable group singers who sing with style, blend, intelligence and clarity: the music here is gorgeous, and so is the music-making.

Sarah Bryan Miller, St Louis Post-Dispatch (1 March, 2010)

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Whether the music be simple or complex, Stile Antico have the measure of it. Excellent!

Richard Lawrence, Gramophone (April, 2010)

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Stile Antico’s stately progress through this wonderful work is a near-miracle of breath control, rhythmical but not metrical lines and transparency of texture, coupled with hypnotic ebb and flow of dynamics. It arrives at an awe-inspiring climactic conclusion.

John Miller, SACD.net (17 January, 2010)

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Stile Antico’s unforced pacing, sensitive phrasing and wonderfully clear textures underline the serene mood and harmonic richness of these works… impressive technical proficiency and expressiveness.

Christopher Price, International Record Review (February 2010)

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The lines follow each other, intersect, intertwine, and finally unite with infinite grace; the swirling of the hymns give birth to a sense of eternity, and the harmonies seem to touch the absolute. To listen to the purity and beauty of the voices of this young English choir, no-one could believe that man could be evil .

Gérard Pangon, Musikzen (3 March, 2010)

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Above all, it is a pleasure to hear the fourth recording of the most remarkable group of the last few years… a pleasure that you will want to taste again and again. Indispensible.

Jean-Jacques Millo, Opus Haute Définition (1 March, 2010)

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Stile Antico, with their qualities of blend, true intonation and precision, also know how to vary the expression according to the text…

Philippe Venturini, Classica (2 March, 2010)

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The performances here are uniformly excellent, celebrating not only the richness and diversity of Sheppard’s harmonic structures, but delighting in the sheer momentum of his often relentless, unceasingly unfolding lines and sometimes clashing colors… whatever the group does next, we’ll be listening. Highly recommended.

David Vernier, Classics Today (1 February, 2010)

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Stile Antico’s sense of structure and direction is impressive in the extreme; this is a carefully thought-out, serious and intimate recording.

Jonathan Wikeley, The Classical Review (18 June, 2010)

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A remarkable technique and a perfection of intonation typical of the English choral school, alongside a presence and warmth of timbre and texture which equals today’s finest Franco-Flemish ensembles. To add to that tantalizing portrait, these young singers work without director, each bringing their personality and ideas to the ensemble. The result is an unmatched clarity and transparency, in which no voice is trivial or neglected.

Jeremie Noyer, Tutti Magazine

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  1. Sheppard: Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria
  2. Sheppard: The Lord's Prayer
  3. Sheppard: I give you a new commandment
  4. Sheppard: Media vita
  5. Sheppard: Christ rising again
  6. Sheppard: Haste thee, O God
  7. Sheppard: Te Deum

Buy Online

Stile Antico is delighted to make its recordings available to UK customers through this website. Each disc is offered at the competitive price of £11.99 (plus P&P*), a saving of at least 20% on the high street price, except for Music for Compline at just £6.99 and Sing with the Voice of Melody at £7.99. In purchasing directly from Stile Antico, rather than through third-party retailers, you directly benefit the work of the group.

With the exception of Music for Compline, all Stile Antico’s discs are issued in Hybrid SACD format, offering surround sound to those with SACD equipment, whilst playing in all conventional CD players.

Shipping is available to UK addresses only. International customers can purchase at popular online music retailers.

  • * P&P costs are £1.95 for one CD, £3.99 for 2-10, £5.99 for 11-20
  • Payment must be made through PayPal (no account necessary) in Pounds Sterling.
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  • Purchasers will also receive an invitation to join Stile Antico’s mailing list.

For all queries, before and after purchase, please contact cdsales@stileantico.co.uk.