The Sistine Chapel Choir were quite late to the recording scene, but they are making up for lost time under director Massimo Palombella. The strengths of the choir's performances on this holiday release are threefold. First of all is the sound environment of the chapel itself, resonant and big, yet hospitable to dense polyphony since Josquin was a choirboy there. Josquin appears on the program here, but the motet Missus est Gabriel is not a common work, and that points to the choir's second strength: they work from a manuscript tradition, that of the Vatican, that is different from the set of scholarly publications that have long shaped the Renaissance performing repertory, and several pieces here are world premieres, or otherwise seldom heard. Finally, there is the sound of the choir itself, with a more sumptuous boys' sound than would be heard from comparable British groups, and one that adjusts easily from the majestic sound of Pérotin (also not heard commonly on recordings of this kind) to the more intimate Victoria and Marenzio from the late 16th century. A standout holiday release.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim