Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas

Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas

by Choir of the Queen's College, OxfordChoir of the Queen's College


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What forces sang English Tudor-period polyphony is not definitively known, but clearly this spacious, ornate music was not intended for one voice per part. Like other Renaissance composers, John Taverner favored sections of reduced texture in his works, and it's uncertain specifically how these were to be sung. By soloists? By the full choir? Conductor Owen Rees, leading the small adult group Contrapunctus and the student Choir of Queen's College, Oxford, devises a unique solution (for which he provides justification in a booklet note): Contrapunctus is deployed in the reduced passages here, mostly with two voices per part. The effect of this is fascinating; sample one of the sizable movements of the "Mass," such as the "Credo," for the full range of effects. The movements of Taverner's "Mass" are connected by the use of the titular cantus firmus "Gloria tibi Trinitas," but at the local level they depend on shades of texture rather than on later, more structured devices like points of imitation. The use of the small choir, subtly different from the larger choir but not bearing the probably anachronistic dramatic effect of soloists, is hypnotic. It helps that both choirs are standouts in their fields. To produce this kind of subtle choral effect, with the slightly brighter and slightly more deliberate sound of Contrapunctus contrasting with the classic collegiate sound of the Choir of Queen's College, is something that clearly took a lot of rehearsal and work. Beautifully recorded by Signum, this is a novel and beautiful Tudor choral release.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/01/2019
Label: Signum Uk
UPC: 0635212057025
catalogNumber: 570

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