The Phoenix Rising (2013)

Byrd, Tallis, Morley, Gibbons, White, Taverner

Stile Antico

Amongst the many and diverse projects funded by the Carnegie UK trust (which celebrates its centenary this year), one project in particular was to transform the musical life of the whole nation to a degree which could not have been anticipated at the time, namely the publication of Tudor Church Music (TCM), a ten-volume collected edition of works by the great Tudor composers, published by OUP between 1922-1929 and accompanied by a series of individual ‘octavo’ performing editions of individual pieces suitable for purchase and use by choirs. Relatively little of the music included had been previously available in modern score, most of it still residing in library manuscripts and, of course, in partbook format – the norm in the sixteenth century but alien to the average modern singer. Thanks to TCM, a significant body of the finest Tudor music became readily available to scholars and performers alike in easily readable editions. 

The project did not enjoy an auspicious start: the original editor R. R. Terry, the first Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral and an early advocate of the music of Byrd, proved unable to progress with the task, and was ousted by the members of his editorial committee.  They continued the work, but slow progress and mounting losses on the expensive ‘library’ edition caused the Trust to pull the plug on ten of the original twenty volumes proposed. Indeed, the Trust came to the pessimistic view that ‘There is, as yet, little evidence to justify the belief that the recovered music is likely to take a prominent place in the ordinary church choir repertoires’.  How wrong they were!

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Stile Antico

stile antico is an ensemble of young British singers, now established as one of the most original and exciting voices in its field. Much in demand in concert, the group performs regularly throughout Europe and North America. Their recordings on the harmonia mundi label have enjoyed great success, winning awards including the Diapason d’or de l’anne?e and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and have twice attracted Grammy® nominations. Their release Song of Songs won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Early Music and reached the top of the Billboard® Classical Chart.

Working without a conductor, the members of stile antico rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing artistically to the musical result. Their performances have repeatedly been praised for their vitality and commitment, expressive lucidity and imaginative response to text. Stile Antico’s recent engagements include debuts at the BBC Proms, London’s Wigmore and Cadogan Halls, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, early music festivals in Boston, Bruges, Barcelona and Utrecht, and at the Cervantino Festival in Mexico. The group has toured extensively with Sting, appearing across Europe, Australia and the Far East as part of his Dowland project Songs from the Labyrinth, and is regularly invited to lead courses at Dartington International Summer School.

 

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The Phoenix Rising (2013)

Byrd, Tallis, Morley, Gibbons, White, Taverner

Stile Antico

    Sequenza21.com

31 Memorable Recordings from 2013

    All Music

AllMusic’s Favorite Classical Vocal Albums of 2013

    Opus One Review

I continue to rely on this album for the luxury of letting my mind go free. ...Stile Antico is a vocal ensemble of a dozen or more persons that is conductorless. It functions as a chamber ensemble in which each member contributes something personal to the musical result. Their spacious but precise approach is marked by spontaneous and subtle shifts of tempo and rhythm that have brought them to the front rank of Rennaisance choirs.The prospect of listening to this harmonious blend of voices expanding passion into peace, focus into freedom, will unwind your mind to a wonderful space of being beyond all styles of worship. The album is richly produced and beautifully recorded with the support of the Carnegie UK Trust.

Stanley Fefferman

    HiFi+

“The Phoenix Rising presents a sublime melange of the 16th Century composed from Gibbons to Morely… the performances are incredibly meticulous. The diction is second to none, each word is clearly pronounced and the recording quality is so well balanced, one can hear each part at all times… overall exquisite sound.”

Pete Trewin,

    Fanfare

Stile Antico is one of the finest vocal ensembles in today's concert scene and the voices blend as one... The program flows together effortlessly... The surround sound is unobtrusive... If you know this group, you will not be disappointed. If you do not, you must hear a remarkable singing ensemble.

J.F. Weber

    Fanfare

Stile Antico brings the encompassing strength of a medium-sized ensemble sound, without losing the intimacy and refinement of a small vocal ensemble... If I had to single out one performance... it would be Gibbons's Almighty and everlasting God... the immediate beauty of the anthem, combined with the perfect tonal integration Stile Antico achieves, makes this an impossible performance to beat.

Barry Brenesal

    Audiophilia

This music is sophisticated, voiced brilliantly and is heartbreakingly beautiful.It is stunningly recorded by Harmonia Mundi where every vowel is round and fat and every consonant, tactile. The tuning is flawless and the musicality is exceptional. Stile Antico is a wonderful young group of British singers. Buy this CD. Turn up the fire, lower the lights and be transported to another time. After the CD is finished and you open your eyes, you may wish to go back. ASAP. Hypnotic and highly recommended.

Anthony Kershaw

    The New York Times

The superb British early-music choir Stile Antico offers a beautifully sung program of Tudor church music, including William Byrd’s richly polyphonic Mass for Five Voices. The disc also includes haunting renditions of music by Tallis, Thomas Morley and Orlando Gibbons.

    PS Tracks

Sometimes a recording comes along, and it seems pointless to describe its many virtues. The artists have long since established a reputation for excellence; the repertoire includes many of the most beloved works in a genre; the sound could hardly be bettered. All you can do is point the consumer toward certain bliss... This conductor-less ensemble does wonders... superhumanly pristine renditions of Renaissance church music.

Lawrence Schenbeck

    American Record Guide

This is a flawless and lovely performanced historically fascinating program rendered with great musical sensitivity.

Crawford

    Positive Feedback

They sing it well: voices are excellent and as an ensemble they have coherence and clarity.

Bob Neill

    Gramophone

There’s a forthright quality to the voices of Stile Antico, and especially its sopranos, that suits this English repertoire, balancing beauty with an intensity that reminds us that this is the music of protest and oppression as well as faith.

Alexandra Coghlan

    Telegraaf

Er staat Engelse religieuze muziek op uit de Tudor-periode, van Byrd, Tallis, Morley, Gibbons en anderen. In deze wonderschone, kwetsbare muziek leveren de twaalf zangers een fraai staaltje Engelse koorzang.Ze zingen spatgelijk, loepzuiver, met een gekruid geluid en gevoel voor urgentie. Dwingende melodische lijnen monden uit in slotakkoorden die als balsem zijn voor de ziel. Om stil van te worden.

Thiemo Wind

    MusicWeb International

RECORDING OF THE MONTH “Throughout the disc the clarity of each individual vocal line is superbly evident, helped by the brilliantly captured sound in the acoustic of St Jude’s church. The Harmonia Mundi engineers have done a great job of ensuring that everything is audible: I listened in 2.0 stereo, but I imagine the SACD sound must be staggering. The clarity of the choir’s diction is also first rate; both in English and in Latin every word is audible. The booklet also contains full sung texts and translations. Yet another feather in Stile Antico’s already resplendent cap.” October 2013

Simon Thompson,

    Restless and Real

Beautifully sung, arranged and recorded, ‘The Phoenix Rising’ is contemplative music at its finest. Very highly recommended.

Doug Heselgrave

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A new recording from the superb young British a cappella choir Stile Antico is always an event. “The Phoenix Rising” (Harmonia Mundi 807572) celebrates both great Tudor church music and the legacy of the Carnegie UK Trust, founded in 1913. The Trust commissioned performing editions of works by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tallis, John Tavener, Thomas Morley and others. The works published in “Tudor Church Music” became the core of the Anglican church music performed in the 20th century.The choir sings it with style and purity, and without a conductor, with the understanding that comes from growing up with a body of work. “Phoenix” is a treasure.

Sarah Bryan Miller

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A new recording from the superb young British a cappella choir Stile Antico is always an event. “The Phoenix Rising” (Harmonia Mundi 807572) celebrates both great Tudor church music and the legacy of the Carnegie UK Trust, founded in 1913. The Trust commissioned performing editions of works by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tallis, John Tavener, Thomas Morley and others. The works published in “Tudor Church Music” became the core of the Anglican church music performed in the 20th century.The choir sings it with style and purity, and without a conductor, with the understanding that comes from growing up with a body of work. “Phoenix” is a treasure.

Sarah Bryan Miller

    Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

To hear Stile Antico's vocal performances of English Tudor Church music is to hear something very old yet somehow right for our ears today... It's music that gives you the chills, for its ancient voices speaking clearly to us today, for the sheer beauty of its note choices and for the gracious transparency of Stile Antico's outstanding musicianship... If you could have only one choral recording representing this style and time, this probably should be it... Stunning. Stunning all around.

Grego Applegate Edwards

    Audiophile Audition -

Another winner from Stile Antico, this time probing the riches of the Tudor Church Music Project... in sumptuous surround sound and sung with a rarified perfection, is extremely satisfying.

Steven Ritter

    The New Zealand Herald

Tudor music thrills anew, thanks to the artistry and musicianship of top British choir.

William Dart

    Sinfini Music

Stile Antico is on top of its game here. They open with two TCM treasures, Byrd’s Ave verum and Tallis’s Salvator mundi (I), and build a compelling programme around the movements of Byrd’s Mass for five voices. There’s a rare spaciousness about the conductorless vocal ensemble’s singing, aided by the acoustics of St Jude-on-the-Hill in Hampstead Garden Suburb and terrific recorded sound. Taverner’s aptly named O splendor gloriae stands as this sublime album’s crowning jewel, a pristine object for still contemplation. Switch off all mobile devices, shut out distractions and simply be with the experience of listening.

Andrew Stewart

    The Independent -

Exquisitely rendered by the Stile Antico consort, the works range chronologically from John Taverner's “O Splendor Gloriae”, in which the Eton Choirbook style is still audible, to Orlando Gibbons' “O Clap Your Hands Together”, where Psalm 47 is brilliantly set in a cascade of repetitions that develops intense hypnotic power.

Andy Gill

    The Whole Music Experience

take a listen to the closing track, O Splendor gloriae (John Taverner) which offers approximately 13 minutes of wall-of-sound pleasure to your ears. Call the CD a masterpiece, it's certainly masterful and more than worthy of musical attention.

Patricia Herlevi

    The Times (UK) -

"Stile Antico sing Tudor and Jacobean classics...with exemplary tuning and discipline. The more elaborate and spacious the music, the warmer the interpretation"

Richard Morrisson

    Early Music Today

‘That the performances on this disc are given with the customary Stile Antico level of excellence goes without saying; what pleases most is the commitment and passion with which the ensemble sings works that have become so much part of English choral furniture that the often scarcely warrant a glimmer of interest from even the most devoted of enthusiasts, thus reminding us of the striking beauty of this repertoire.’ October/ November 2013

The Phoenix Rising (2013)

Byrd, Tallis, Morley, Gibbons, White, Taverner

Stile Antico

Digital Converters: Meithner DSD AD/DA
Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Robina G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel
Recording location: London, UK
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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HMU907572: The Phoenix Rising
01:14:35   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Ave verum corpus
Byrd
00:04:08   Select quality & channels above
2.
Salvator mundi - I
Tallis
00:03:20   Select quality & channels above
3.
Mass for five - Kyrie eleison
Byrd
00:01:36   Select quality & channels above
4.
Mass for five voices - Gloria in excelsis Deo
Byrd
00:05:29   Select quality & channels above
5.
Nolo mortem peccatoris
Morley
00:03:13   Select quality & channels above
6.
O clap your hands togther
Gibbons
00:05:34   Select quality & channels above
7.
Mass for five voices - Credo
Byrd
00:09:55   Select quality & channels above
8.
Portio mea
White
00:06:53   Select quality & channels above
9.
Christie qui lux es et dies-IV
White
00:06:23   Select quality & channels above
10.
Almighty and everlasting God
Gibbons
00:02:17   Select quality & channels above
11.
Mass for five voices - Sabctus & Benedcictus
Byrd
00:04:30   Select quality & channels above
12.
In ieiunio et fletu
Tallis
00:04:38   Select quality & channels above
13.
Mass for five voices - Agnus Dei
Byrd
00:03:46   Select quality & channels above
14.
O splendor gloriae
Taverner
00:12:53   Select quality & channels above

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