The Tallis Scholars / Peter Phillips

Renaissance Radio

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This is a compilation of 47 short tracks, a few of them excerpts from longer pieces, by Britain's Tallis Scholars, the ensemble of about a dozen mixed-gender, adult singers (generally two per part, the black belt of ensemble singing) that has risen to the top of the heap in Renaissance a cappella choral music. The collection dates back to the mid-1980s and runs up to the present day, and it marks the Scholars' 40th anniversary, although it doesn't cover that entire span of time. The stated reason for the curious title Renaissance Radio is that when leader Peter Phillips founded the Tallis Scholars in 1973, "sacred vocal music from the Renaissance Era was seldom heard on radio. Now it is firmly established as one of the great repertoires of Western classical music." The collection seems to be intended as a crossover-friendly collection of Tallis Scholars recordings, offering lots of small snippets that you might indeed hear on the radio more often than you would, say, a complete Josquin mass. As such, it's very nice. The opening truncation of Allegri's Miserere, which loses its last 12 verses, gets things off to an uneasy start; it would have been better to simply leave the piece off. But after that the double album is a kaleidoscopic sequence of great moments in Renaissance music, and it's very easy on the ears. The first part of the program is devoted to Continental music, after which the generally simpler English works by Thomas Tallis and others are experienced as pure, as a kind of resolution. You can easily listen to the entire two CDs (or online equivalent) without feeling that anything has been repeated. The recordings aren't presented chronologically, and they come from several different venues, but they thus attest all the more to the remarkable consistency of sound and flawlessness of ensemble this group has achieved over the years. For anyone seeking a Tallis Scholars sampler, you couldn't do better.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:50
2 5:26
3 5:27
4 4:10
5 2:30
6 3:52
7 3:57
8 2:32
Missa L'homme armé sexti toni
9 4:15
Missa Et ecce terrae motus
10 3:29
Missa Brevis
11 3:06
12 4:44
13 3:02
14 3:42
15 3:59
16 2:16
17 2:53
Requiem
18 2:36
19 3:10
20 3:50

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Lamentations 1
1 1:21
2 2:39
3 4:48
4 2:37
5 3:39
6 2:03
7 2:32
8 3:33
Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas
9 2:58
10 3:10
11 4:54
12 3:28
13 2:55
14 2:55
Mass for four voices
15 3:18
16 2:04
17 3:05
18 2:42
Psalm Tunes
19 0:57
20 0:52
21 1:03
22 0:41
23 4:26
24 2:48
25 3:03
26 2:51
27 5:20
blue highlight denotes track pick