A brilliant re-issue
Sid Nuncius | London England | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fabulous re-issue of two of the Tallis Scholars' finest discs, with the addition of two magnificent motets from other discs. Josquin is the undisputed master of Flemish polyphony in the late 15th- and early 16th centuries, and remains in my view one of the very greatest composers ever to have lived. The Tallis Scholars sing his music magnificently and these discs are unsurpassed by anything in the catalogue.
The first of the two is their legendary recording of the Missa Pange Lingua and Missa Mi-mi which won the Gramophone Record of the Year Award for 1986 and remains the only Early Music disc ever to have done so. It's a stunner - beautiful, beautiful sound and clarity of line which makes each part distinct while blending perfectly with the others, all of which brings out the best in truly great music. In addition you get the Tallis Scholars' unrivalled performance of the great motet Praeter rerum seriem (originally from the disc featuring the mass which Cipriano de Rore based on the motet) which alone would be worth buying a double CD for, and Josquin's beautiful, haunting setting of Ave Maria.
And I think the second disc is even better. It contains the two masses Josquin based on the chanson L'Homme Arme, and it has been one of my Desert Island Discs ever since I bought it in 1989. The whole thing is simply sublime, and the third Agnus Dei in the second mass is, to me, three minutes of what Heaven sounds like.
You cannot go wrong with this set. It's an absolute bargain at the price and you get two of the greatest recordings of Renaissance polyphony in the catalogue for your money. If you are at all interested in this repertoire, buy it. I bought both discs at full price when they came out and never regretted a single penny. I promise that you won't either.