harmonia mundi HMU 807575
This new disc of Renaissance Christmas Music from vocal ensemble Stile Antico offers a cleverly balanced selection of festive Lutheran and Roman Catholic works. Running through their programme is the sumptuous Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis by Jacobus Clemens [non Papa], and at its centre sits Hieronymus Praetorius’ astounding double-choir Magnificat with interleaved carols.
To read the full text of this review please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (December issue 2015)
Sistine Chapel Choir / Massimo Palombella
Deutsche Grammophon 479 5300 GH
The Sistine Chapel Choir celebrate their musical heritage through a selection of renaissance sacred music recorded inside the Sistine Chapel. Their programme includes works by Palestrina, and Allegri’s Miserere as preserved in the Sistine Codex of 1661. It is a beautifully recorded disc, as much a celebration of the building as of the music or the voices. They are a large ensemble, 30 ragazzi and 20 men with high tenors replacing falsettist-altos, and their performances favour low pitch resulting in a richer timbre than English counterparts. At times they are reminiscent of Westminster Cathedral Choir under George Malcolm, but the trebles are more rounded.
To read the full text of this review please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Deecember issue 2015)
Heinrich Isaac: Missa Misericordias Domini & Motets
Cantica Symphonia, Giuseppe Maletto
Glossa GCD P31908
Cantica Symphonia are a mixed vocal and instrumental ensemble long associated with the works of Guillaume Dufay to whom they have devoted 5 discs. Giuseppe Maletto and Cantica Symphonia now offer a whole album of works by Heinrich Isaac that includes the first recording of 'Missa Misericordias Domini', and a selection motets, four of which are also previously unrecorded. That there is so much of Isaac’s output still to be explored on record should come as little surprise: not only was he prolific but he has often been eclipsed by his more famous contemporary, Josquin Desprez.
To read the full text of this review please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (January 2016)