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This is the second recording to emerge from the recent partnership between two venerable institutions: the famous ‘yellow label’ of DG and the personal choir of the Pope. While last year’s ‘Cantate Domino’ was more of a taster disc, presenting a mix of Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony by composers including Allegri, Lassus and Victoria, this latest album is, as the title suggests, devoted solely to the music of a composer some regard as the ‘saviour’ of polyphony – the story being that Palestrina’s Missa Papæ Marcelli was the masterpiece that convinced the Catholic Church not to ditch polyphony as part of its Counter-Reformation plans.

That work is, naturally, the focus of the disc, and receives a bright, clean performance from the choir, with a sound very unlike the English school of performance we’re much more used to hearing – although if one compares it to older recordings of Westminster Cathedral Choir (which is said to have deeply impressed Pope Paul VI in the 1960s), the differences are perhaps not that great after all. Among the companion pieces on disc are four world premiere recordings – strange to think that this could be the case with such a famous composer! I’m delighted to recommend this disc not just for its novelty and historical values, but also for the quality of the performances.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing