Stile Antico – Puer Natus Est
Tudor Music For Advent and Christmas (Stile Antico) – Harmonia Mundi HMU807517
Thomas Tallis – Puer Natus Est, Videte Miraculum | Robert White: Magnificat | John Sheppard: Verbum Caro | John Taverner: Audivi vocem de caelo | William Byrd: Gradualia
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. Via.