Paul Hillier

Orlando de Lassus: St. Matthew Passion

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The very definition of what an early music recording -- heck, any recording -- should be, Paul Hillier and the Theatre of Voices' Harmonia Mundi recording of Lassus' St. Matthew Passion, Visitatio, and Exsultet is as great a recording of any work by Lassus as has ever been made. The tone, intonation, and rhythm of the performances are beyond criticism. The Theatre of Voices from the University of California at Davis sings with wonderful lyricism and overwhelming drama. Solo tenor Paul Elliot sings with superb effect and incredible intensity. Hillier directs with the confidence, concentration, and an unerring sense of the long line of the music. Harmonia Mundi's packaging is deluxe and the sound obtained from Skywalker Sound is astoundingly clear but marvelously atmospheric. And, best and most importantly of all, the performances are completely and utterly compelling and deeply and profoundly moving.