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Music for Compline

The Boston Globe reviews Music for Compline

David Weininger, The Boston Globe (16 March, 2007)

We periodically hear eulogies for the classical-music recording industry, which, like classical music itself, is often presumed to be a few breaths away from expiration. Yet beautiful and challenging work is still being written, new ensembles and performers continue to shed fresh light on older repertoire, and someone finds a way to transmit some portion of it to the public. So here are a few noteworthy recordings that have crossed our path.

There’s no shortage of groups, especially English ones, singing Renaissance polyphony, and such ensembles as the Tallis Scholars and the Sixteen have set the bar awfully high. But Stile Antico, a group of 13 young British singers, easily meets the standard. Their first release is “Music for Compline” (Harmonia Mundi), a collection of music composed for the last traditional Christian service in the day. The members of Stile Antico demonstrate the immaculate ensemble work and balance of better-known groups — remarkably, since they sing without a conductor — but their sound is richer and more deeply hued. The final work on the CD — an antiphon by the much-neglected English composer Hugh Aston — is astonishing for its quiet spiritual intensity.