TAVERNER: Dum transisset; Dum transisset Sabbatum II; Missa Corona Spinea – The Tallis Scholars/ Peter Phillips – Gimell

An astoundingly innovative and virtuoso setting of the mass.

TAVERNER: Dum transisset Sabbatum I; Dum transisset Sabbatum II; Missa Corona Spinea – The Tallis Scholars/ Peter Phillips – Gimell CDGIM 046, 62:07 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

Written for the new Cardinal College at Oxford, and probably premiered before Henry VIII himself, Taverner’s Missa Corona spinea is one of the greatest of all Renaissance choral pieces, often sounding like a concerto for treble voices. Taverner extended the range to amazingly high voices, and the two sopranos that tackle the piece for Peter Phillips are sumptuous and marvelously adept at their art. The sonorities that Taverner achieves are nothing less than thrilling, and the high wire act that stretches to B-flats for a long period of time are unlike anything you will ever hear in this most prodigious and creative of periods.

The accompanying Dum transisset Sabbatum I & II, while worthy in and of themselves and make for decent filler, in no way compare to the mass setting. No matter, as these performances have to be ranked among the best in the catalog, another star in the Tallis firmament.

—Steven Ritter

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