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At the heart of the religious disputes which ravaged 16th century England, Tallis and Byrd embody two opposing tendencies: the former's austere, homophonic Protestant psalm tunes, in which the clarity of the biblical texts was paramount, contrast with the latter's Catholic motets, which constantly heighten musical expressivity and emotiveness.Yet, far from being stifled by the rigour of one camp or the traditionalism of the other, the creativity of these two masters of English music thrived on such constraints as they dedicated themselves to the service of their art and of God. New performing edition by Stile Antico.
Working without a conductor, the members of Stile Antico rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing artistically to the musical result.Their repertoire ranges from the glorious legacy of the English Tudor composers to the works of the Flemish and Spanish schools and the music of the early Baroque. They are passionate about the need to communicate with their audiences, combining thoughtful programming with direct, expressive performances.They are also committed to developing their educational work, for which they have received generous funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
“Stile Antico perform without a director, and the use of choral effects (gradual build-ups of intensity, or the opposite) doesn't seem overly staged. They certainly make a confident noise, helped by a sound recording that brings out the natural bloom of their sound. ” Gramophone Magazine, June 2008
“The most striking feature of these performances is how wonderfully varied they are. In some pieces… the presentational style almost enters the realm of musical theatre, while in Tallis's God Grant with Grace the utterly still and simple display of the music is transporting.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2008 ****
“wonderful music and singing of considerable distinction” International Record Review
“The young singers of Stile Antico, in their second disc of Tudor music, are magnificent... glorious music, gloriously sung.” Sunday Times Classical CD of the Week
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New York Polyphony - Tudor City
New York Polyphony’s second release for Avie is a compelling fusion of Tudor masterpieces from Byrd, Tallis, Taverner and others and contemporary works by Oslo-based English composer Andrew Smith.
Classical vocal quartet New York Polyphony struck a chord with their 2007 Avie debut, ‘I Sing the Birth’ (AV2141). An intimate meditation on the Christmas season, it garnered unanimous praise on both sides of the pond. For Gramophone Magazine it was “one of the season's best”, and it was an Editor's Christmas Choice in BBC Music Magazine. For their second release, the all-male foursome delivers their signature fusion of historically informed performances in a range of styles. Interspersed between sacred masterpieces of Tudor England are four new works by British-Norwegian composer Andrew Smith, adding a modern harmonic richness and complexity to the album. The result is a compelling synthesis of ancient and contemporary vocal music. New York Polyphony extends the mix of old world and new in the album’s title, named for the distinctive 19th-century neighbourhood on Manhattan’s East Side which is pictured in the striking cover design.
“The transitions between the ages are seemlessly effected, particularly impressive during back-to-back old and new performances of "Magnificat À Quatre". Recorded in New York's Cathedral of St John the Divine, these are beautifully blended voices of individual distinction” The Independent, 21st May 2010 ****
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