Palestrina: Missa Benedicta es/Tallis Scholars

Review by: David Vernier

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

Back in 1981 an English vocal ensemble called The Tallis Scholars issued its first recording, Palestrina’s Missa Benedicta es, made in the ideal acoustic setting of Oxford’s Merton College Chapel. Everything about the recording, from the impeccable vocalism to the detailed, resonant sound to the classy packaging and informative liner notes spoke quality, and these performances (and those that quickly followed) set a new standard for early-music/Renaissance specialist ensembles and record labels. (Just listen to the ending of the Gloria or the Credo and you’ll understand.)

Such vigorous, intensely expressed interpretations, precise intonation and careful balances, and vibrant, detailed sound were far from the norm back then for this repertoire–what there was of it. In fact, the Tallis Scholars were responsible not only for opening listeners’ ears to new ways of interpreting Renaissance vocal music, much of it based on recent period-performance scholarship, but also to discovering a wealth of works and composers not well known to modern audiences. If you missed this classic recording the first time around, here’s your chance to grab it in this limited-edition budget-priced reissue. And unlike the original, it includes a bonus–Palestrina’s Missa Nasce la gioja mia, an early work based on a madrigal by Primavera and recorded in 1984. Unsurpassed! [7/10/2006]

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA - Missa Benedicta es; Missa Nasce la gioja mia
JOSQUIN DES PRÉZ - Benedicta es

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