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Fanfare Magazine: 39:4 (03-04/2016) 
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Gimmell
CDGIM046




Code-barres / Barcode : 0755138104624

 

Outil de traduction ~ (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)
 

Reviewer: J. F. Weber
 

Coming hard on the heels of another Taverner Mass (Fanfare 37:4), this is Peter Phillips’s first recording of this work, following earlier versions by John Byrt, Francis Grier, and Harry Christophers. Byrt’s was on a Saga LP, apparently not reissued on CD. Grier’s was made in the early days of ASV Gaudeamus, but it never arrived and I had to buy that, too. The Christophers version (13:4) was one of six Taverner Masses that he made for Hyperion in the course of nine years. Hence we now have the first version of this Mass in almost 25 years. Phillips also recorded the Western Wind Mass, coupled with the settings of Tye and Sheppard (17:2).

Phillips seems to have adopted a new pattern in this series. Just as the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas was filled out with all three of the composer’s Magnificats, this Mass is filled out with both settings of the Easter Matins responsory Dum transisset Sabbatum. No. II was less familiar and still has only a few recordings, including one by Harry Christophers on the same disc as this Mass. Phillips recorded No. I on the early Gimell CD 004 (9:6), where it filled out the first version of Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas. The only previous disc that bore both versions was made by Stephen Darlington (17:2), although he shortened No. II by omitting the chant verses. A recent review of David Skinner’s collection of anthems, including No. I (35:4), attempted to straighten out the two settings of this responsory but got it mostly wrong. (A correction appears in the Fanfare Archive.)

The Scholars, augmented to three voices to a part in the Mass, sing with an ethereal sweetness and a piercing treble line, fitting Phillips’s description of the Mass as a “treble concerto.” Tempos are very broad, 20 percent slower than either Grier or Harry Christophers, the latter’s a vocal ensemble about the same size as the Scholars. If the ensemble sings better than ever, it is more a description of present excellence than a denigration of past performance. The obvious contrast between this vocal ensemble and Grier’s boys and men of Cardinal Wolsey’s foundation is worth mentioning. These are two discs that complement each other, the older one still available. But Phillips offers an exceptional program for filling up one of Taverner’s finest Masses with both settings of the great responsory.


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