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A group of Elizabethan musical exiles are recruited to a common cause for In a strange Land, a cunningly contrived programme from Stile Antico. Their vivid, compelling singing of music by Dowland, Byrd, Philips, Dering, de Monte, and White includes some revelations such as the heart- rending In this trembling shadow by Dowland and an intriguing modern madrigal, The Phoenix and the Turtle, by Huw Watkins. Their characteristic delicacy of ensemble is captured luminously in immediate recorded sound. Another renaissance composer collective is formed by Amarae morti, which finds Peter Phillips not with the Tallis Scholars but directing a choir of young Iberian voices, El León de Oro, in rarities by Phinot, Lassus, Gombert, Cardoso, Victoria, Morales and Palestrina, including assorted Lamentations and Marian motets. A youthful quality, raw at times in the lower parts, occasionally exposes technical lacunae, but may be pleasing to listeners challenged by the fully released vocal quality that informs our professional scene. By and large these are very effective and appealing interpretations, assisted by a recording with a generous coating of acoustic bloom.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica


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