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Music for Compline

“Youthful Delights”: The New York Sun on Music for Compline

Jay Nordlinger, New York Sun (16 January, 2007)

Go way back in time, now, for “Music for Compline.” What is compline? “The last of the daily monastic hours.” And it entails “a form of night prayer.” I am quoting from the liner notes of this new CD, which comes from harmonia mundi. Annoyingly, the company lowercases its name. So does the singing group featured in “Music for Compline”: stile antico. (The words, as you know, mean “ancient style.”) Personally, I’d like e.e. cummings to come back and write a poem denouncing both of them.

In any case, the CD gives us music from 16th-century England. We hear the works of five composers, including two towering geniuses: Tallis and Byrd. The less exalted composers are Hugh Aston, John Sheppard, and Robert White. This is a beautiful disc, rendered with dignity, purity, and understanding. You may like to use it for your own night hours.

According to its bio, stile antico is an ensemble of young British singers who once did a tour with Sting, the rock star. This is a group that can apparently play the angles.