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For Heavenly Songes Jérémie Couleau (tenor and director) guides La Quintana, three flexible singers and a portative organ, through a world premiere recording of Ludford’s Missa Sabato, offering a new approach to the composer’s ‘squares’ and his alternatim Lady Masses, recorded with impressive breadth and immediacy in warm acoustics. Fascinating liner notes find stylistic links with a clutch of medieval works, also included, on the basis that they remained current almost in the way of folksong. They employ ‘authentic’ pronunciation (both from pre- and post- the ‘great vowel shift’). Scholarship aside, these performances are a delicate delight – attractive, intimate, flowing, affectionate – drawing the listener into a world of exquisite holy miniatures. The portative organist employs the note-bending possibilities of hand-blowing as a musical colour in its own right.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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