Tallis: Ave, Dei patris filia

The Cardinall’s Music, Andrew Carwood
Hyperion CDA68095
Ave Dei patris filia, Benedictus, Candidi facti sunt Nazarei, Christ rising again, E’en like the hunted hind, Expend O Lord, Homo quidam fecit coenam, Honor virtus et potestas, Litany, O Lord open thou our lips, Out of the deep, Te Deum, The Lord be with you & Venite

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he latest release in The Cardinall’s Musick’s Tallis Edition on Hyperion, this CD presents a mixture of Latin and vernacular sacred works including music for the Catholic and Anglican liturgies. It was very interesting listening to the Cardinall’s Musick’s more abrasive sound after the gleaming tones of the Tallis Scholars, particularly in light of the fact that the two groups share members. I found myself slightly falling out of love with the insistent soprano sound of Celia Osmond, whose intermittent use of vibrato I found grating, while Amy Haworth (one of Peter Philips’ fine trebles on his new recording of the Taverner Missa Corona Spinea) produced a more consistently pure sound. More worrying however were the slight lapses in intonation in various parts, which suggested under-preparation in several of the works mainly for reduced forces. Elsewhere in the full choir sections, the Cardinall’s Musick’s signature security of blend and pitch was fully in evidence. By necessity perhaps in a complete edition, this CD is a bit of a musical ragbag and I never felt that the singers settled in the way that a group recording the complete works of a composer should. Bearing in mind that the Chapelle du Roi under Alistair Dixon produced a consistently impressive complete edition of Tallis in the early 2000s for Signum, now available at bargain price, we could perhaps hope for something more consistently impressive from The Cardinall’s Musick. And having heard and sung the Psalm tunes for Archbishop Parker in muscular ‘Tudor English’, accounts like these in modern English sound increasingly twee.

D. James Ross

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