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This latest release from American star vocal quartet New York Polyphony is timed to coincide with their 10th anniversary celebration – and with the recent retirement of Anonymous 4, it seems clear that NYP has gained a thoroughly deserved place at the top of the US vocal tree.

Roma Æterna has at its heart music by two of the greatest Renaissance composers, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Tomás Luis de Victoria; the former is represented by perhaps his most famous work, the Missa Papæ Marcelli (for which two additional singers are roped in), and the latter by the Missa O quam gloriosum. Both works receive performances that are the very definition of elegance, but which are certainly not bland or uniform; the joy of these excellent one-voice-per-part performances is that the timbres and qualities of the individual voices can be heard and appreciated, while blending to make a greatly pleasing whole, the flexibility and deftness of the group’s singing giving the music an almost madrigal-like feel.

Additional works by the two composers, and also Francisco Guerrero, are spaced through the disc – Palestrina’s ‘Tu es Petrus’ is particularly well done, although it seems a shame not to have included Victoria’s own motet ‘O quam gloriosum’, on which his Mass setting is based.

That minor quibble apart, this is an excellent disc, and highly recommended for anyone searching for an approach to these key works alternative to the traditional English choral sound.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing