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‘Transeamus’ – Latin for ‘let us cross over’ – is the concluding word of the 15th-century carol There is no rose, and as such makes for an apposite title for the last ever recording by the Hilliard Ensemble, who gave their final performance at the Wigmore Hall in London in December 2014, 40 years after the group was founded. In that time they were one of the world’s pre-eminent vocal ensembles with a repertoire that stretched from the Notre Dame school of polyphony to modern works written for them by Arvo Pärt and Heiner Goebbels.

For this disc, the group has returned to music which was always close to their hearts, from 15th-century England; indeed, their first ever recording was of works from the court of Henry VIII, where William Cornysh – whose ‘Ave Maria, Mater Dei’ appears on this disc – worked. His is perhaps the most famous name in the track listing, but those of John Plummer and Walter Lambe ought to be better known – as, too, should that of ‘Sheryngham’, by which single word the composer of the disc’s stunning final work, ‘Ah, gentle Jesu’, is known. If this had been the group’s only recording, it would still be held up as a model of refinement and ensemble singing – as it is, we have decades of albums and memories to treasure.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing