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Reviews TALLIS SCHOLARS
 

Opusklassiek Mei 2021 : Veertig jaar Gimell - Alle missen van Josquin op negen cd's
….Over de uitvoeringen van de laatste drie missen kan ik kort zijn. Die zijn ronduit perfect. Loepzuiver, evenwichtig, doordacht, maar met een onderhuidse spanning. De klank is in de loop der jaren wat robuuster geworden er kwam meer emotie, ietsje meer dynamiek ook bij. Maar de essentie bleef. Drie sopranen (vrouwenstemmen), twee alten, twee tenoren en twee bassen. ….  Gerard van der Leeuw - Artikel

Limelight Magazine 4/01/2021: CD Josquin: Masses - Scholars deliver the crowning glory of a Herculean labour of love.
This massive undertaking, completed in time for the 500th anniversary of Josquin’s death in 2021, seems, at first blush, an unusual project for The Tallis Scholars to have undertaken. Yet, these champions of high Renaissance music, boasting a refulgent high soprano line, were guided by their founder, Peter Phillips to explore the music of this earlier master after the success of their award-winning 1987 disc of the Missa Pange Lingua and the Missa La sol fa re mi.
…the Missa Hercule Dux Ferrarie becomes increasingly intriguing; the final section of the Agnus Dei flowering into six parts and yielding some gloriously transcendent music.…Coming to the end of this absolutely remarkable odyssey, the listener can only be filled with admiration for Phillips’ vision and the enormous flexibility of The Tallis Scholars, who for nearly half a century have maintained their unchanging commitment to vocal and musical excellence. Having completed the crowning glory of these Herculean labours, what could possibly come next? Tony Way - Review in full

Schallplattenkritik.de January 2021: CD Josquin Desprez: Masses
With this CD, the Tallis Scholars conclude their complete recording of all masses by this most important master of Renaissance polyphony, … It’s once again exciting to witness Peter Phillips succeed at unifying his singers under a single interpretive banner, combining the perfect homogeneity of the sound with the structural transparency of each individual voice. Mathematics becomes magic – an event that makes Josquin’s rigorous art immediately present in all its strangeness. Uwe Schweikert - Review in full

Resmusica 17/12/2020 : Les Tallis Scholars bouclent leur intégrale des messes de Josquin des Prés
Le grand-œuvre est ainsi achevé, pour le 500ᵉ anniversaire (en 2021) de la mort de Josquin des Prés ; les Tallis Scholars et leur chef Peter Phillips publient sur leur label Gimell le neuvième et dernier volume consacré aux messes du maître franco-flamand, regroupant trois de ses compositions parmi les plus singulières.
… C’est l’œuvre d’une vie artistique et personnelle sublimée en une aventure collective, menée au gré des générations des pupitres et de l’existence même de son ensemble.
Pour cet enregistrement, tout en restant fidèle à l’identité sonore du groupe et à la gémellité des pupitres – sauf ici les soprani groupées cette fois par trois, Peter Phillips a travaillé davantage sur le caractère sombre et strict de la polyphonie. Les teintes de cet effectif – renouvelé durant cette dernière décennie – semblent d’une gravité un rien solennelle. Les lignes de superius sont, il est vrai plus qu’à l’habitude, cantonnées dans le grave de la tessiture des sopranos. Les pupitres d’altos masculins virent aux countertenors à l’anglaise et se fondent idéalement avec le timbre des ténors par un subtil jeu de miroir sonore et d’équilibre dynamique. Les basses tranchent davantage par leurs valeureuses interventions.
Hercules Dux Ferrarie  - …, la nouvelle version l’emporte autant par la clarté des lignes et la perfection d’intonation que par ses couleurs quasi élégiaques. La Messe « Faisant regretz » - … la version idéalement ludique et spéculative de Peter Phillips très énergique et engagée vient pallier cette lacune de la discographie, parfait hommage à l’écriture quasi fractale de toute l’œuvre. Enfin, nos interprètes donnent une interprétation à la fois sereine et nostalgique de la missa « d’ung aultre amer » culminant dans le sublime motet central « tu solus » déjà cité.
Voici donc une superbe conclusion à une réalisation majeure du disque, sans aucun équivalent … En bref, avec cette fin de cycle discographique l’année Josquin à venir est déjà marquée d’une réalisation majeure.  Benedict Hévry - Article

OpusKlassiek December 2020 : CD Josquin Des Prez: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie – Missa D'ung aultre amer – Missa Faysant regretz
… Deze uitgave markeert de voltooiing van een project waaraan decennialang gewerkt is: een opname van de complete missen van Josquin, zestien in getal, samengebracht op negen individuele cd's. …The Tallis Scholars hebben zich in iedere aflevering van deze integrale met een loepzuivere intonatie soeverein betoond. Phillips kent deze partituren als geen ander en zorgt bovendien voor een doorwrochte toelichting. De interpretatieve keuzes die hij maakt leiden tot een schitterend klinkend resultaat: eerlijk, streng, strak, zuiver en zonder opsmuk; met dynamische schakeringen wordt zeer terughoudend omgesprongen. …
In augustus 2021 voeren Peter Phillips en The Tallis Scholars in vier dagen de zestien missen van Josquin uit in de Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlijn, ongetwijfeld online te volgen. Een niet te missen historisch moment! Siebe Riedstra - Artikel

Bachtrack 14/12/2020 : Tallis Scholars return with Renaissance and modern masters
The ensemble has set a standard so high that a greater level of musical perfection is simply not conceivable. … Even listeners who might ordinarily avoid “church music” cannot help but be impressed, moved, and even transported by the impeccable artistry of the ten singers and their conductor….
The Tallis Scholars’ Renaissance sound is generally characterized by a bright soprano melodic line shining over an undulating current of lower voices which intertwine, taking the listener to unexpected places, and seeming as though they could flow onward forever, perhaps beyond time.
… Each singer’s voice was naked and unhidden and, to my ear at least, never wavered from pitch, blending together in uncanny synchronicity. It is a rare thing to hear a performance permeated by such artistry, dedication, and respect for both the music and those who receive it. At this time of year, it is the ultimate gift. Linda Holt – Review in full

Classical-music.com 26/11/2020 : Josquin: Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie, etc
With this almost valedictory recording, The Tallis Scholars complete their monumental nine-disc project to record all of Josquin’s Mass settings, … The Scholars’ sound is lean and clear: every strand of the musical web is beautifully illuminated, and the text is carved with a sculptural sharpness, …
The text is to the forefront, too, in the Scholars’ account of Josquin’s Missa D’ung aultre amer…. Its prayerful Credo is so articulately uttered here that the words seem more spoken than sung, while the Benedictus motet ‘Tu solus qui facis mirabilia’ is voiced with prayerful solemnity. The disc’s final work, the Missa Faysant regretz, ….making a mesmerising final chapter to this unforgettable musical odyssey. Kate Bolton-Porciatti – Review in full

The Guardian 7/11/2020 : CD Josquin Masses
The Tallis Scholars and their director, Peter Phillips, have reached the end of an enterprise begun in 1986: to record all 18 masses by the French Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez, just ahead of his 500th anniversary year. … Phillips, whose impassioned liner notes guide the listener into Josquin’s rarefied but sublime sound world, compares this last to a string quartet of Bartók in its close argument and dazzling economy. As always with the Tallis Scholars, it’s immaculately sung. All told, a mighty achievement. Fiona Maddocks - Review in full

Gramophone 6/11/2020 : CD Josquin Masses (Phillips)
This ends a hugely enjoyable project begun in 1986, not originally envisaged as a complete cycle of Josquin’s Masses but which spawned consistently superb releases until completion became inevitable. .. Who better to navigate such extraordinary music than the masters of tranquillity and clarity themselves, The Tallis Scholars? Their exacting style delineates the distinctive sound world of each Mass while maintaining a consistent sonic beauty.
Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie - … As ever, one greedily awaits the canonic passages in The Tallis Scholars’ performance since their glassy serenity lends itself to such textures. The six-voice Agnus Dei is sublime.
Missa D’ung aultre amer  - … it’s a delight to hear his music infusing this final disc.
Missa Faysant regretz - … Here the Agnus III is stunning: Josquin’s inventiveness in creating such a finely spun texture over a repeating tenor part is extraordinary. This glossily perfect performance pings with relish and crackles with energy. A superb end to a magnificent cycle of recordings. Edward Breen – Reviw in full

Limelightmagazine.com.au 16/04/2020 : CD  Josquin • Bauldeweyn: Masses - Tallis Scholars ask will the real Josquin please stand up
…Phillips and his singers communicate Josquin’s passionate response to Brumel with luxurious tone and beautifully shaped melodic arcs, particularly in the third Agnus Dei, which is like a flower opening in an arid landscape. Tony Way – Review in full

Australian Stage Online 3/03/2020 : 150 Psalms: Gratitude
….An inspiring performance by The Tallis Scholars, under the crisp, secure and unobtrusive direction of their founder, Peter Phillips. This group is so well known from its many splendid recordings, but to hear them live, in a lively acoustic such as this Temple is a whole new and very much more immediate experience. They are a polished and tidy ensemble, who were equally at home with the mellifluous interweaving of themes by the polyphonic renaissance composers, such as Merulo, Victoria, Gibbons and Guerrero, for example, as they were in the less complicated homophonic simplicity of works by the 19th century SS Wesley and the 17th century Danish Morgens Pedersen. Whatever the genre, they enchanted, with superb intonation and blend, and seemingly effortless clarity.
…. Psalm 107 by Philippe deMonte presents an opportunity to showcase the Scholars’ dynamic range, and Schubert’s Psalm 92 (in Hebrew) demonstrated their power and subtlety in the weaving of its themes. …   Peter Bleby - Review in full

Artsfile.ca 10/12/2019 : Tallis Scholars offer sublimely consistent performance
The trio of Salve Reginas began with the Gregorian chant of the text, flexibly sung by tenor Simon Wall. The setting by William Cornysh, a favourite composer of Henry VIII, stood out for its virtuosity, with the 10 singers executing the music’s delicate flourishes and ornamentation with a painterly touch, and the tuning rich with satisfyingly buzzy overtones. ….
A Thomas Tallis O sacrum convivium was paired with a setting by the 20th-century French mystic Oliver Messiaen. The intonation in the latter, with its famously dense, difficult, dissonant chords, was almost inhumanly precise; the singers produced a perfectly smooth, velvety wash of sound that was more akin to an organ than a choir.
The concert ended with two lively Magnificats by William Byrd and Tomas Luis de Victoria. A thunderous ovation was rewarded with an exuberant encore… Natasha Gauthier  - Review in full

The Artsdesk.com 7/12/2019 : CD Josquin: Missa Mater Patris, Bauldeweyn: Missa Da pacem
Peter Phillips rightly stresses that clarifying and simplifying ones musical language shouldn't be mistaken for a sign of fading gifts, and listening to The Tallis Scholars’ version is an electrifying, visceral experience. Lean, open textures dominate, giving the music a tremendous sense of space and light, the harmonies implied rather than stated. Striking too is Josquin’s overt hommage to an older colleague, Antoine Brumel, whose Mater Patris is quoted and embellished in the work. The singing here is spectacularly assured, this choir's bravura technique never obscuring the music's warmth. Graham Rickson – Review in full

Crescendo-Magazine 22/09/2019: The Tallis Scholars dans Josquin: la perfection est de ce monde
Entamée depuis de nombreuses années maintenant, l’ambitieuse intégrale des Messes de Josquin par le chef Peter Phillips à la tête des Tallis Scholars en arrive à son onzième volume. Une fois de plus, l’émerveillement est double : d’abord, par rapport à la qualité exceptionnelle de la musique et, ensuite, pour ce qui est de l’interprétation qui est du plus haut niveau.
C’est d’abord à ceux -si nombreux aujourd’hui- qui apprécient la musique vocale d’un Pärt ou d’un Górecki et qui ne connaîtraient pas encore les merveilles de la polyphonie de la Renaissance qu’on conseillera la découverte de cette musique dont la perfection justifie la flatteuse réputation de celui que Luther déjà appelait « der Notenmeister », le maître des notes….Pour ce qui est de l’interprétation, on ne peut que rendre les armes devant la compréhension qu’a le chef de ce répertoire et la virtuosité sans faille des Tallis Scholars dont l’intonation irréprochable, l’équilibre parfait des voix, la finesse du phrasé et la beauté vocale quasi surnaturelle sont une perpétuelle source d’émerveillement. … remarquables interprétations.  Patrice Lieberman – Article
Son 10 - Livret 10 - Répertoire 10 - Interprétation 10

Planethugill.com 15/05/2019: An English Vespers: Rachmaninov from the Tallis Scholars
A lighter more intimate approach to Rachmaninov's Vespers, combined with the music of Sir John Tavener to striking effect…This was an evening of contrasts, the faster sections contrasting with the slow, thoughtful ones, the quiet intimacy with the moments of intense drama, the smooth lines with the more pointed, crisp and energetic rhythms, the languid beauty with moments of intense energy.
…The Tavener Funeral Ikos is amazing in its simplicity, and as such hard to do well. Here the choir (reduced to 12) gave us a superbly crafted performance which focused attention on the amazing work. Robert Hugill – Review in full

Berkeleydailyplanet.com 6/04/2019:: Tallis Scholars Shine in Music Inspired by The Sistine Chapel
Hearing The Tallis Scholars perform sacred works by Renaissance composers who had close associations with the Sistine Chapel was a rare treat. The a capella polyphony of the ten Tallis Scholars vocalists was transcendent. one might even say, trance-inducing.
Gregorio Allegri’s famed Miserere - …For this performance, Peter Philips had the second choir, made up of four women and one man, sing from the foyer at the back of the hall, while the first choir sang from the stage. The soloist, a tenor, sang from stage-right. The dominant feature of this Miserere consists of a single soprano voice repeatedly soaring high above the other voices in verse after verse. The effect here was truly transcendent.
… Sanctus & Benedictus from Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi domine, all ten vocalists of The Tallis Scholars brought out the varying colors of the music. …To enthusiastic applause, The Tallis Scholars performed an encore of a ten-part Crucifixus from Antonio Locris. Whether you are religious or not, this program of Renaissance polyphony sung by The Tallis Scholars was nothing short of heavenly. James Roy MacBean – Review in full

Classicalsonoma  5/04/2019 : Sistine Chapel Inspiration for The Tallis Scholars in Weill Hall
The opening was a Kyrie from Missa Assumpta Est Maria - …The sound of the Tallis Scholars was embraced by Weill’s acoustics of the hall and created transcendant musical experiences: stillness in motion, freedom in order, individual and group supporting and lifting each other. The music and performers became one in a tapestry of intertwining voices, clear and warm.
The second piece was a setting of Regina Caeli by Crisobal De Morales, … Nothing in the interpretation was forced. Dynamics and tempo were masterfully chosen and the music spoke for itself.
Eight of the singers presented the Gloria from Palestrina’s Missa Ecce Ego Johannes. Solo and ensemble alternated in this music of praise. Remarkable always were the clarity of text and beautiful music of changing vowels and new dimensions of sound coloring. The end was a gloriously triumphant Amen.
A standing ovation by the audience of 450 was enthusiastic and sustained, bringing the group back for many bows and then as an encore, Lotti’s Crucifixus in ten voices, showcasing the wonders and expressiveness of polyphony. Sonia Morse Tubridy/Nicky Bell – Review in full

Classicalsource 21/12/2018 : 33rd Christmas Festival at St John’s Smith Square: The Tallis Scholars
Not many choirs can fill two prestigious London churches in the same week. The Tallis Scholars and Peter Phillips are such a draw. Following Temple Church, St John’s Smith Square glowed and buzzed with anticipation at the prospect of a programme that revolved around settings of the Magnificat and biblical texts in veneration of the Virgin Mary.
Hieronymous Praetorius’s Magnificat V opens with a delightful combination of ‘In dulce jubilo’, partly sung in colloquial German, and formal Magnificat text in Latin. The sopranos blended beautifully as this intimate cradle-song alternated with tenor chant and fugal writing.
William Byrd, another work that provided contrasts between melancholy and layered five-part singing of great beauty … The Tallis Scholars conveyed all the complexity of this repertoire and communicated its spiritual depth and meaning, …. Amanda-Jane Doran - Review in full

L’Avenir 5/07/2018: Surpris par la beauté de la vie
…J’ai été fasciné par la précision, la clarté, de chaque voix faisant entendre sa différence mais également son souci de dialogue et de cohésion au sein d’un ensemble d’une exceptionnelle qualité. Arvo Pärt ouvre le concert avec trois odes implorant la pitié divine. Les dix voix remplissent la nef, comme venant de lieux différents, elles se répondent, s’unissent, parfois s’arrêtent pour mieux repartir. Les voix sont pures, elles font entendre leurs complaintes, de manière poignante, jamais désespérée….. Je frissonne et me laisse porter par ces voix qui courent de l’une à l’autre, et nous transportent vers un ailleurs….
…Les Tallis Scholars entonnaient lLe Kyrie de Tavernier …je ne suis pas prêt d’oublier ce bref morceau où les voix se mêlent, s’entremêlent, se démêlent et fuient, nous offrant milles couleurs diverses. Ils poursuivaient avec le Diliges Dominum de William Byrd dont le précieux livret d’accompagnement de Marc Maréchal décrit la prouesse technique d’écriture et dès lors la difficulté d’exécution que la limpidité du chant du chœur anglais ne laissait pas percevoir.
Quittant l’abbeye hier soir au soleil couchant, c’est précisément ce que je vivais. Merci Festival de Namur, merci Tallis Scholars, merci Arvo Pärt et vous musiciens qui parlaient à nos cœurs et les laissaient surprendre par la beauté de la vie. Yves Poullet

Portsmouth.co.uk 25/06/2018 : The Tallis Scholars at Portsmouth Cathedral
Absolute flawless perfection! A glittering jewel! The finest choir in the land, the Tallis Scholars, produced a truly memorable evening of serene music at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral as part of the Portsmouth Festivities. …The programme was perfectly suited to the cathedral’s rich and warm acoustic, with the glorious polyphonic lines of William Byrd and the more ascetic music of Arvo Pärt and John Tavener seemingly purpose-written for the building.  Peter Gambie - Review in full

Calgaryherald.com 30/04/2018 :Tallis Scholars at the Bella an unforgettable night of the sublime
This was only the second Tallis Scholars appearance in Calgary in nearly 30 years but the wait was well worth it. They sang exquisitely, every millisecond of music perfectly crafted and every sonority a nuanced world unto its own.
The surrounding Mass movements of the concert’s first half were sublime. Nothing perfunctory here: the Kyrie from Josquin’s Missa L’homme armé sexti toni was a suave masterpiece of phrasing and the Guerrero Gloria from the Missa Batalia with its throbbing, reduced-texture slow sections made scrupulous use of glowing harmony and a subtly broadened chordal spectrum. But the true highlight was Arvo Pärt’s The Woman with the Alabaster Box, … Pärt’s counterpoint is pellucid, the Tallis Scholars’ rendition crystalline — the finest possible demonstration of a seamless, perfect tintinnabulation style specified for these works. Each mild dissonance was wedded closely to the text, set against a larger-than-usual plethora of gorgeous sustained tones. In the balanced space of the Bella, each line, every moment, every resonant ring of the acoustic mattered. With this minimalist music, the Tallis Scholars made count every maximalist moment. Stephan Bonfield - Review in full

 

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