About Spem in alium
Shady Ave Reader | Arlington, VA | 09/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is specifically about Spem in Alium which is featured on this album.
While I am a great fan of classical music, this time period of music has never been one I have sought out. Then I bought this album at a thrift store two years ago and heard Spem in Alium for the first time. This piece and this performance changed my mind about middle age/early rennaisance music. This album has been in heavy rotation ever since on my stereo.
While I found all of Tallis' music on this album to be compelling, Spem in Alium is an exceptionally beautiful, intricate piece that is full of mystery (in the religious sense). The recording itself is wonderfully balanced sonically with excellent dynamics and depth (hugely difficult with the eight five-part choirs used). Listening to this with your eyes closed it is not difficult to feel that you are alone in a great English cathedral surrounded by choirs.
Having not heard the other versions of Spem in alium, I cannot honestly compare it to other performances. However, as an avid classical music listener, I can find nothing to fault here either in the music itself or in the quality of the recording which are both superb.
If like me you have avoided composers before Bach, then this music will be a great discovery. If you already know this piece, I think you will find this an extremely compelling and well recorded performance."
If you're buying this set for Spem in alium ...
Peter Brawley | 12/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"... I suggest you first listen to mp3 samples of a few other Spem renditions, especially those by Magnificat, the Sixteen and the Tallis Scholars. There is much on this Cambridge/Willcocks CD that is lovely, and the interpretation of Spem is famously passionate, but the sound in Spem (first released on LP in 1972, I think) is anything but clear, indeed it's downright fuzzy, as if recorded through a few blankets. The blurry soundstage and multi-echo acoustics are less problematic with the other material on the disc, but in Spem you want to hear the forty voices! Unfortunately this recording mashes them together."