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Jean Mouton deserves more recognition, and in this new recording Peter Phillips puts forward a very strong case. The beauty of the mass belies its cleverness in dissecting and reusing each line of Compère’s original chanson, yet despite such intricate mechanisms, Mouton’s music is as warm and intimate as the performance. The Tallis Scholars sound wonderfully rich in this ‘men’s voice’ scoring and the ‘Agnus Dei II’ for three basses is particularly spectacular. In the lament ‘Quis dabit oculis’ Mouton reveals a different side of his compositional style for which the singers are at their best. Listen particularly for the setting of ‘Domine, defecit Anna’ – stunning. However, in the meltingly beautiful ‘Nesciens Mater’, the trademark steely and confident upper-line phrasing pioneered by the Bonner/Dunkley/Roberts triumvirate has been replaced by a careful tone which misses many ravishing opportunities. Like all Tallis Scholars’ recordings, this is essential listening.

Edward Breen Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing