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Most of the material on Tallis Lamentations is soprano-free and finds the gentlemen of The Cardinall’s Musick on the finest form: super-smooth polyphony with singers as sensitive to the text as the composer clearly desired. They’ve also carefully considered how pronunciation informs the soundscape. Recorded along with a selection of English service works and Latin motets, sopranos of searing purity appear rarely but to riveting effect. In stark contrast, the vibrato and individualism of The Sixteen’s sopranos graces the latest in their fascinating Polish series, featuring an Italian maestro far from home, Luca Marenzio. The premiere recording of his Missa super iniquos odio habui sits alongside motets by two other Italians employed by the Polish court, Pacelli and Bertolusi, on Helper and Protector. Vocal colour, with blend occasionally sacrificed to liveliness, makes for performances of character: it’s another revelatory journey into marvellous repertoire long hidden in the Communist era.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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