The Gesualdo Six / Owain Park

English Motets

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The Gesualdo Six literally made its name with performances of Carlo Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories, but that's not the British vocal consort's only specialty. Each of the singers was trained in the English choral tradition, and sacred works of the 16th and 17th century are close to their hearts. This 2018 Hyperion release is a brief survey of motets by Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Thomas Tomkins, John Sheppard, Robert White, John Dunstaple, Thomas Morley, John Taverner, William Cornysh, Orlando Gibbons, and Robert Parsons, which represent the changing theological and liturgical aspects of English religion in the Renaissance. The ensemble, conducted by Owain Park, sings with evenly blended tones and an extraordinary harmonic richness, notwithstanding the assignment of one voice to a part and the exposed polyphony that sometimes creates an austere effect. Also quite noticeable are the cross-relations that add poignant dissonances to the counterpoint, as in Tallis' Loquebantur variis linguis, Taverner's Quemadmodum, Gibbons' O Lord, in thy wrath rebuke me not, and Parsons' Deliver me from mine enemies. This album was recorded in Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, where The Gesualdo Six gave its first performances, and the sound is enhanced by vibrant acoustics that give the group a radiant aural halo.

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