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The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Stephen Cleobury (d) King's College Cambridge KGS0012 Dolby’s Atmos technology allows height information to be added to surround- sound recording, capturing the acoustics of the recording venue with startling fidelity. Gabrieli’s antiphonal and cori spezzati music written for Venice’s Basilica di San Marco, and the cavernous yet warm and vibrant acoustics of King’s, Cambridge could not, of course, be a more apposite combination of choices for the technology’s audio-disc launch. I have been consistently astounded by the vivid acoustic capturing of King’s Chapel on the discs across a variety of audio set-ups.

One must make a slight leap of faith, of course, to pass over the incongruity of the King’s College choral sound in this full-blooded Italian music and to accept the recording on its own terms. Having done so, though, it’s an exciting recording of this consistently brilliant music, with some delightful solos commencing with treble Gabriel May’s pure and confident start to the disc- opener In ecclesiis. The core repertoire here is Giovanni Gabrieli’s posthumous Symphoniae sacræ of 1615, and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, of course, excel, providing due radiant splendour in the great Magnificat, and sombre tenderness in Suscipe, clementissime Deus. Hugh Keyte’s reconstruction of the 14-part Quem vidistis pastores? is given a particularly sympathetic choral reading. There are some excellent liner notes by King’s fellow Iain Fenlon, too.

Catherine Groom Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing