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Just as an expert make-up artist brings out one’s finest features and a mediocre one might struggle to mitigate one’s blemishes, the right sound engineer and producer can make a recording glow with health and vitality. Such impeccable recording values enhance Gloria tibi Trinitas, a collaboration between the highly accomplished singers of Contrapunctus and the developing voices of the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford. This glorious programme of polyphony by John Taverner offers much opportunity for contrast as delicate, sinuous passages of vocal chamber music open up into densely populated choral vistas. On a more intimate scale the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal sing works by Thomas Tallis, including his low voice masterworks Suscipe quaeso and the Missa Puer natus est nobis, recorded in ‘their’ chapel at Hampton Court. Lusty singing, occasionally competitive and a tad old-fashioned, conveys a sense of ownership of the music but, even taking the less than lavish acoustics into account, these forthright performances are ill-served by an unflattering recording.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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