Thursday, 4 March, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
St Martin-in-the-Fields: Fresh Horizons
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SP, The Sunday Times (18 February, 2007)
The directorless young vocal group’s debut disc for Harmonia Mundi is an appealing collection of pieces by English composers written for the last office of the day during the turbulent years when Tudor monarchs oscillated between Protestantism and Catholicism. The predominant mood is serene and prayerful, which doesn’t necessarily mean simplicity. Rival canonic settings by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd of Miserere mihi Domine are mind-boggling examples of contrapuntal ingenuity, while Hugh Aston’s antiphon Gaude, virgo mater Christi ends the recital in an opulent swirl of late-medieval magnificence. Pieces by John Sheppard and Robert White testify to the strength in depth of the Tudors. compositional talent. The singing is staggeringly beautiful, the balance meticulous.