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The Choir of Girton College, Cambridge, with Historic Brass of the Guildhall School and Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, present Palestrina Missa Sine nomine à 6, a fascinating programme including some world premiere recordings, including three delightful motets by Marc’Antonio Ingegneri. Largely using new editions, these are intense, shapely interpretations, with sustained and fervent singing, spiritually informed, we are told, by a choir tour to the Holy Land. Choral blend has inconsistencies but the emotional intensity never wavers, battling cool acoustics in a recording deserving of a broader soundscape. An even greater recording challenge (evoking memories of Morgan Spurlock) appears in Supersize Polyphony. It is courageous to record works that are so much more effective when experienced live: among the numerous lovely moments there’s a lot of yelling, to messy if lively effect, by voices uneven in technique and style in an insufficiently spacious recording. Armonico Consort join with the Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, for Striggio and Tallis 40-part motets and Striggio’s Missa Ecco si beata giorno which, with up to 60 voices, crushes the listener into submission, between the sections of which we find not some tastefully selected Gregorian chant but monody by St Hildegard von Bingen - the liner notes are innocent of justification.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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