Stile Antico–Puer natus est

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Program: #10-48   Air Date: Nov 22, 2010

The brilliant young English ensemble is out with a Christmas disc, including the Tallis Missa "Puer natus est" and works by Byrd, Taverner, Sheppard, and Robert White.

NOTE: Stile Antico's newest recording (their fifth) focuses on the wonderful music written by the English Tudor composers for the seasons of Advent and Christmas. At its heart is Thomas Tallis' magnificent seven-part 'Christmas' Mass, based on the festive plainchant Puer natus est ('A boy is born'). The mass is interspersed with William Byrd's exquisite propers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, and framed by responsories by Taverner and Sheppard, Robert White's exuberant setting of the Magnificat, and Tallis' own sublime Videte miraculum. The recording is on Harmonia Mundi, and is CD # HMU 807517.

Nicholas Kenyon in The Observer writes:

Surely the pick of the new CDs for Christmas this year, this exquisitely performed and beautifully planned disc is another winner for Stile Antico, a young, versatile and conductor-less group. They bring together Tallis's incomplete but richly resonant mass Puer natus est with Byrd's much tighter, shorter Advent motets from The Gradualia, a satisfying contrast. Then they add Robert White's expansive Magnificat and Sheppard's glorious Verbum caro to finish. Sometimes there is an emphasis on sound at the expense of the words, but what a sound: perfectly blended, carefully balanced, its sonorities reaching back effortlessly to conjure up a vanished age of devotion.

For more information on this remarkable young ensemble:

1. Tallis: Videte miraculum ("Behold the miracle of the Mother of our Lord")
2. Taverner: Audivi vocem de caelo ("I heard a voice coming down from heaven")
3. Byrd: Rorate caeli desuper ("Drop down, heavens, from above")
4. Tallis: Gloria
(Missa Puer natus est)
5. Byrd: Tollite portas ("Lift up your gates, o princes")
6. Tallis: Sanctus & Benedictus
(Missa Puer natus est)
7. Byrd: Ave Maria ("Hail Mary, full of grace")
8. Tallis: Agnus Dei
(Missa Puer natus est)
9. Byrd: Ecce virgo concipiet ("Behold, a virgin shall conceive")
10. White: Magnificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord")
11. Plainchant: Puer natus est ("To us a Child is born")
12. Sheppard: Verbum caro ("The word has been made flesh")

Composer Info

Thomas Tallis, Robert White, William Byrd, Taverner, Sheppard

CD Info

CD # HMU 807517

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