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Best of the Renaissance


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Audio CD, June 15, 1999
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Product Details

  • Performer: The Tallis Scholars
  • Conductor: Peter Phillips
  • Composer: Gregorio Allegri, Thomas [Composer] Tallis, William [Composer] Byrd, Josquin Desprez, Alonso Lobo, et al.
  • Audio CD (June 15, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00000J9GR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,279 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Miserere
2. Spem In Alium
3. Mass For Five Voices: Kyrie
4. Mass For Five Voices: Gloria
5. Mass For Five Voices: Credo
6. Mass For Five Voices: Sanctus - Benedictus
7. Mass For Five Voicesd: Agnus Dei
8. Missa 'Pange lingua': Kyrie
9. Missa 'Pange lingua': Gloria
10. Missa 'Pange lingua': Credo
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: Recessit pastor noster
2. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: O vos omnes
3. Tenebrac Responsories For Holy Saturday: Ecce quomodo moritur justus
4. Missa Papae Marcelli: Kyrie
5. Missa Papae Marcelli: Gloria
6. Missa Papae Marcelli: Credo
7. Missa Papae Marcelli: Sanctus - Benedictus
8. Missa Papae Marcelli: Agnus Dei I - II - III
9. Osculetur me
10. Salve Regina
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

As hateful and usually untrue as most "Best of" collections are, this one is the real thing. You actually do get two hours and 20 minutes of Renaissance music performed so exquisitely, so correctly, and so passionately that it's as if an entire era in music makes itself understood through these CDs. The Tallis Scholars are as good as it gets in this repertoire. In addition to getting Allegri's gorgeous Miserere, you'll find Thomas Tallis's 40-part (40!) Spem in alium, some wonderfully weird and dissonant Responsories by Gesualdo, Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli (the "how-to" piece of the Renaissance popes, who demanded that the words be understood), and various other works. This stuff is like a finely woven tapestry and should be listened to bits at a time--it's amazingly rich and worth it. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
87%
4 star
13%
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See all 15 customer reviews
The same goes if you're looking for some great Renaissance music.
"scipio_g"
If you are building a classical music library and want to find some good recordings of High Renaissance (16th Century) music, this is a good place to begin.
Patricia Reed
All the music is digital so the beautiful voices are pure and clear.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Concert Music on February 22, 2000
For those looking for a wonderful and truly awe-inspiring overview of sacred music of the Renaissance, I highly recommend this CD, with this proviso: You'll spend quite a bit more money and time than you ever planned on buying and listening to more and more Renaissance music.
This CD does a superb job of giving us bits and pieces of 200 years of music, spanning from the turn of the 15th century and Josquin Desprez to the very late Renaissance and Allegri's incomparable Miserere Me. The one reason to choose this CD over the Silver offering is the fact that this one contains 3 whole masses - Byrd, Josquin, and Palestrina; this allows for some delightful comparison of 3 masses composed at different times and under differing circumstances in this era.
Enough said - do yourself a favour and have a listen - you will not regret it!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Reed on July 10, 2000
If you are building a classical music library and want to find some good recordings of High Renaissance (16th Century) music, this is a good place to begin. The selections contain good samplings from many countries. The choir is wonderful to listen to. The amazing 40-part Spem in alium is worth the price of the CD alone. Unfortunately, the liner notes do not include translations of the songs, but even so, the CD is worth having.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "scipio_g" on February 1, 2004
When I recently played the first disk of this collection in the small bookstore/café where I work, a customer told me she had been trying to read but couldn't because she was so captivated by this CD's sublime music.
Although I am a sort of purist who hates when people say they listen to classical music just to relax, I find this CD set is perfect for inspiring reflection and relaxation. So, if you're looking for good music to relax to, this would be an excellent purchase.
The same goes if you're looking for some great Renaissance music. However, the term "Best of the Renaissance" may be a bit of a misnomer; the CD does not include a vast array of music from the said era. This collection is solely /a cappella/ music. Perhaps a more fitting title would be "The Best of Renaissance Choral Music." If you're looking for a broad sampling of music from this time period in one CD collection, this may not be for you. Nevertheless, if you want well performed choral music by some great composers, I recommend this CD to both Renaissance neophytes and aficionados without reservation.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 2000
This CD contains, to my knowledge, the best recorded performance of the sublime Miserere by Gregorio Allegri. There is a famous story of Mozart going to the Sistine Chapel to hear the Allegri Miserere when he was fourteen years old. After having heard it, he asked to see the score and was denied permission. He when to a second performance, and sat "as if in a trance" and returned to write out the piece from memory...making only two mistakes, which in fact turned out to be mistakes that the singers had made in the performance.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Konczal on June 14, 2006
My only major complaint with the Tallis Scholars' impressive compilation "The Best of the Renaissance" is its name. The 2-CD set only includes sacred vocal polyphony from the High Renaissance (16th century). That means you get no chansons, no madrigals, no instrumental music of any sort. Perhaps even worse, composers before Josquin are ignored: there's no Dufay, no Binchois, no Ockeghem - nobody who worked primarily in the 15th century. These omissions suggest that the Tallis Scholars probably consider the pre-Josquin period as late Medieval, rather than early Renaissance.

Once you accept "The Best of the Renaissance" for what it is - "Best Sacred Vocal Music of the 16th Century" - you can better enjoy its remarkable assemblage of High Renaissance polyphony. The first disc in particular is quite astonishing. The Scholars lead off with their signature performance of Allegri's "Miserere" - actually a Baroque-era composition in Renaissance "learned style." The Scholars brilliantly convey the "call-and-response" effect of dual choirs through exquisitely crafted acoustics. Turn this one up, turn off the lights, close your eyes, and you're in the Sistine Chapel!

The Scholars follow "Miserere" with an equally impressive performance of a work by their namesake Thomas Tallis - the 40-voice motet "Spem in alium." If "Miserere" hasn't overwhelmed your senses, this one will.

Two virtuoso Mass cycles follow: William Byrd's "Mass for Five Voices" and Josquin's "Missa Pange lingua." The former conveys a sublime, otherworldly beauty, while the latter is a superior example of the style of pervasive imitation that Josquin and his contemporaries pioneered.

The selections on Disc One are so impressive that Disc Two disappoints by comparison.
Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Piotr Woryma on May 14, 2002
Many CDs bearing the title "the best of..." contain a hit or two and other works are there to fill the space in between without raising the costs too much. But not this one. Apart from the historically famous recording of Misere by the Tallis Scholars, the two CDs contain a number of other equally beautiful works, i.e. by the stunning and intriguing Gesualdo. Ceratinly good value.
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