New recordings made in Merton College Chapel, Oxford, in March and April 2005
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“Having thoroughly internalised this music, Phillips creates a reading of great authority. The greatest contrast between the two Merton College recordings… is the choir's sound: this now commands a rich range of colours and textures, captured by superior sound engineering.”
“It's about 25 years since The Tallis Scholars' debut recording, which included the Pope Marcellus Mass and Allegri's Miserere; and in 1994 they issued a video (also available as a CD) of a concert in the Sistine Chapel commemorating the 400th anniversary of Palestrina's death. This third recording has far more in common with the latter interpretation than with the first, and in essentials little seems to have changed in 10 years, but the wholly ethereal approach a quarter-century ago is now changed into something more robust. That's attributable as much to the difference in the singers' timbres as to a change in Peter Phillips's view of these works. This new recording's principal innovation is the inclusion of two different readings of the Allegri (or rather, the modern-day elaboration of it that bears his name – a distinction that Phillips's booklet-notes don't acknowledge): one sung quite 'straight', and the other with embellishments to the famous top line evolved over many years (and countless live performances) by soprano Deborah Roberts. This is the main reason for recommending the disc, even though the ornaments to the opening verses are a little slow to get off the ground. By the end, the excitement is undeniable.”
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