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Fanfare Magazine:  24:6(07-08/2001) 
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Reviewer: J. F. Weber


This disc, reissued again from the label that regained its independence after several years under the wing of Philips, was the first recording of wide circulation made by this famed ensemble (they made three records before this that I have never heard). It was licensed to EMI and issued on Music for Pleasure (and on Angel over here), but the Gimell label was soon launched, and the rights were recovered. The short piece featured as the title had been recorded eight times earlier, but the only celebrated version had come from King's College Choir on an Ash Wednesday disc, sung in English and featuring treble Roy Goodman (yes, him). Since then it has been recorded many times. The Tallis Scholars remade this and the Palestrina Mass in their Live in Rome concert for Palestrina's anniversary, but it doesn't really equal the first version in singing (notably the solo of Allison Stamp, who dropped out of the group when it turned professional) or in the spatial distribution of the group in Merton College chapel.

Like Allegri, this Palestrina masterpiece has too many fine recordings to single out just one, but I do like the Westminster Cathedral Choir on Hyperion as an alternative to a vocal ensemble. The real find on the disc was William Mundy's motet, almost 20 minutes long, a masterpiece of Queen Mary's Catholic restoration that had never been recorded before. It has been done several times since, including the Tallis Scholars' remake in Live in Oxford.

So here is the early formation of this group, sounding as good as they ever have. No mistake keeping it in the catalog.

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