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A clutch of significant re-issues begins with some classic Palestrina from Westminster Cathedral Choir on Hyperion Helios. The Missa Ecce Ego Johannes bristles with enough energy to power the national grid and the breathtaking authority, drive and power few other groups can emulate brings them thrillingly close to religious ecstasy.

Two excellent bargain discs from Musique d’Abord include the Demantius Vespers for Whitsun in a worthy if somewhat diffident liturgical reconstruction from the Huelgas Ensemble. By contrast Monteverdi’s Missa In illo tempore receives a supremely affectionate reading from Philippe Herreweghe with the Ensemble Vocal Européen de la Chapelle Royale. Monteverdi, the musical alchemist, poured measures of stile antico and elements of the emergent baroque into his creative crucible to forge a compound that fizzes and pops with originality: a wondrous work revivified with utter veracity.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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