Thursday, 4 March, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
St Martin-in-the-Fields: Fresh Horizons
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David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer (11 February, 2007)
Compline? Is that some newly unearthed composer from the English Renaissance? Or maybe one of Henry VIII’s wives? In fact, Compline is a night prayer service that thrived in Catholic 16th-century England before reforms dictated that Evensong offered enough night music. This disc is a Compline service consisting of plainchant, motets and hymns by John Sheppard, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis and others. The surprise is how rich and substantial the music is, even in its most spare, functional moments. Much of that quality is due to the performers, a 13-voice group making its recording debut with this disc: This is superb singing that’s also blessed – I mean that literally – with profound delicacy and reverence. You sense the group is singing for its own spiritual good, with a combination of relaxed, introspective tempos and inner conviction – but with vastly superior pipes to the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos of Chant fame. The spatial eloquence of the disc’s SACD sound quality couldn’t be more appropriate.