A Wondrous Mystery reviewed by Audiophile Audition
Mel Martin, Audiophile Audition (21 November, 2015)
This is a fine SACD from Stile Antico. It’s not the familiar favorites of the season, but glorious performances of works from church services from the Renaissance period.
Composers include Michael Praetorius, Jacobus Handi and Johannel Eccard. You will hear a few familiar melodies, but most of the music will likely be new to you. The performances are really sublime. These choral works were designed to be sung by congregations in the church gatherings of the time. There are German carols, and mass by the Flemish master Jacobus Clemens non Papa
A word about the performers. The Stile Antico is one of the premier groups to perform renaissance music. They are based in London, and have a shelf full of major music awards. They’ve done many recordings and are in high demand for live performances. The group is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.
The 5.0 channel audio is a perfect match for the music. Recorded in a large venue, the voices float dreamily from the front speakers, while the rears envelop the room with a rich ambiance. This recording was mastered and recorded in DSD, and if you have the requisite equipment it’s a fine listen in DSD direct. But the SACD sounded just fine, and I was hard pressed to hear any obvious differences.
There are so many me-too Christmas releases at this time of year, so A Wondrous Mystery is a fine way to get yourself into the holiday spirit. I know the disc will get a workout in my house.