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Allegri: Miserere / Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli / Mundy: Vox Patris Caelestis Import, Original recording reissued

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, April 1, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Here's a wonderful introduction to Renaissance choral music, with two tried-and-true repertory standards and the Mundy, a gorgeously sensuous example of a lesser-known mid-16th-century work, whose complex polyphonic strands are rendered with compelling involvement by the Tallis Scholars. These performances were among the group's earliest recordings and helped catapult them into the forefront of specialists in this demanding repertoire. The Allegri became a favorite back in the 1970s, a sort of choral equivalent of Albinoni's Adagio, in which repetition serves as the driving force. The Tallis Scholars give it welcome variety through spatial placement in a large church and their colorful singing. Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli is one of that great composer's finest works. Its mastery of polyphony while clarifying the text is said to have convinced the Church to withhold its impending ban on polyphonic church music. The group sounds larger than its 21 members because of the acoustics, the clear diction of the Scholars, and the power of their singing, always transparent and involved. They use female sopranos instead of boys' voices, so there's more heft and color than we often hear from early-music groups. Vivid engineering makes the CD even more attractive. --Dan Davis

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Miserere
  2. Vox Patris Caelestis
  3. Missa Papae Marcelli: Kyrie
  4. Missa Papae Marcelli: Gloria
  5. Missa Papae Marcelli: Credo
  6. Missa Papae Marcelli: Sanctus & Benedictus
  7. Missa Papae Marcelli: Agnus Dei I & II


Product Details

  • Performer: Tallis Scholars
  • Conductor: Peter Phillips
  • Composer: Gregorio Allegri, Giovanni Pierluigi da Pales, William Mundy
  • Audio CD (April 1, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued
  • Label: GIMELL
  • ASIN: B000059GLW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,563 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm quite sure there must be many people like me,who early on in their record collecting career,heard a brief excerpt of Allegri's "Miserere" over the radio perhaps,or on a film soundtrack,and exclaimed: "What is that !" and "why don't I own something that beautiful ?"; "Take me to it at once !!".In my case I rushed out to my local record shop (after carefully consulting my "bible" i.e "The Penguin Guide to Classical CDs") and was fortunate enough to find this lovely Tallis Scholars recording just waiting there for me.Now,there are some excellent "Misereres" available elsewhere,with brilliant boy soloists soaring magically up to those spine-tingling high Cs,but this recording is something apart and special.For a start,it is a girl (the excellent Alison Stamp) who has the solo limelight,and also Peter Philips,the director,had the brilliant notion of seperating the solo group of the choir,and placing them at the far end of Merton College Chapel.Not only does this fully exploit the fantastic acoustics of the building,but it creates the marvellous effect of making the piece come across almost as a dialogue between Heaven and Earth.It's a truly otherworldly listening experience,and should not be missed by anyone who claims to love music.
William Mundy's "Vox Patris Caelestis" (The Voice of the heavenly Father) is a celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,and borrows heavily from the Song of Solomon.Perhaps at first you might think it doesn't quite have the appeal of the other two items on this disc,but it does repay repeated listening,and with the barely reined in passion of it's final verse provides a most satisfying sonic bridge between the more subdued beauties of the other masterworks.
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Format: Audio CD
--Allegri's Miserere--
Part of the power of the Miserere lies in its basic simplicity, which is one of the fundamental building blocks of spirituality. Indeed, legend has it that the Pope once decreed that it could only be performed at the Vatican, and only under conditions of special care due to its spiritual power. Legend continues that this monopoly was broken when Mozart (as a child) heard the piece and, from one hearing only, transcribed the music into print form and distributed it from there. Perhaps this is an embellishment, but it is a romantic story befitting the piece. The Miserere is based on Psalm 51 (Allegri's setting is but one of many), the great penitential psalm of the Lenten season. This sombre and searching spirituality permeates the music from start to finish. The high piercing notes recalling the piercing guilt and the pierced Christ cry over the mixture of voices that produce a most exquisite grumble of humanity in search of God.
--Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli-
Written at least a generation prior to Allegri's Miserere, Palestrina's Mass for Pope Marcellus II is likewise a composition in search of the absolute and absolving God. Reacting to an overly ornate liturgy of the Roman Catholic church in the face of popular and growing Reformation types, Palestrina became a great champion for music that preserved both the grandeur of the liturgy as well as the accessibility of the message and language for the people. The lower vocals make the Mass a part of the people, rather than existing on high, inaccessible.
--William Mundy's Vox Patris caelestis-
Mundy's work is roughly contemporary with that of Palestrina (mid to late 1500s).
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Format: Audio CD
THIS REISSUE AT HALF PRICE TOUCHES OUR VERY SOUL WITH ITS INCREDIBLE BEAUTY!

This recording by the Tallis Scholars under the direction of Peter Phillips is considered by many to be the finest performance of Allegri's "Miserere". This composition is quite simple in construction and much of it's impact relies on the conditions of performance, especially on the acoustic. And so the Tallis Scholars have used a reverberant building. It was recorded in Merton College Chapel,Oxford, and sets new standards for recording unaccompanied sacred music.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful moments created by the solo group in 'Miserere':Allison Stamp(treble), Jane Armstrong, Michael Chance, and Julian Walker. The sound of these voices raises one to the heights and projects such exquisite beauty. Allison Stamp's highest note as the melody peaks is uncanningly beautiful!

Palestrina's "Missa Papae Marcelli" has five movements. The richness of his music comes from the predominant use of lower voices- two tenors and two basses-with one countertenor and one treble. It was this glorious 'Marcellus Mass' that so impressed the Council of Trent (convened to purify the church service) in 1564, that they left Palestrina's music untouched.

William Mundy's "Vox Patris caelstis" (the voice of the Heavenly Father)was written during Queen Mary's reign (1553-1558) and is contemporary with Palestrina's work. Mundy composed on an enormous scale, the audibllity of the words being secondary to the expansion of the melodies, though he clearly appreciated the sensual connotation of the text, which is adapted from the 'Song of Solomon', as in, for instance, the repetitions of the word 'Veni'. I found this selection to be riveting in its glory.
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