Related Reviews
Albion Magazine
'There are comprehensive and excellent work notes and texts included in a high-quality booklet and these, along with the admirable performances, certainly make this a disc to look out for.'
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Fanfare
'The 18 mixed voices of this ensemble are as responsive as a smaller group while furnishing a warmly blended sound.'
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Early Music Review
'Very highly recommended.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'Byrd's eight-part Quomodo cantabinus unfurls majestically, ravishing the ear.'
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Pizzicato
'...you will discover a heritage rich with emotion.'
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Allmusic.Com
'beautifully sung'
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International Record Review
'The programme is as comforting and pleasing to the intellect as the music is the soul'
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The Irish Times
'such faithful thoroughness'
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The Observer
'Pass it over at your peril.'
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The Independent
'the blend is beautifully relaxed and natural.'
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Classic FM
Connoisseur’s Choice
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Music Web International
'This is another triumph for Magnificat and Linn.'
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Magnificat - Where late the sweet birds sang - Gramophone


01 January 2013
Gramophone
Caroline Gill

An Oxford institution for over 20 years (with a personnel list that ebbs and flows with the best singers of this repertoire), Magnificat has long represented what is great about the music created there. There is such precision and care paid to the progress of the music and its phrases that you can almost see Philip Cave placing each note carefully, exactly where he want it.

That's not to say Magnificat's sounds is in any way bland in it's meticulousness - far from it. The blend and ensemble of the voices is beyond reproach, despite there being enough space between each voice part to be able to hear the polyphonic lines as living entities in their own right as well as constituent parts of a bigger harmony, and Cave is enormously skilled in bringing out tiny corners of interest without overstating them and upsetting the development of the music.

This is an undeniably scholarly disc, produced as it was by the grand dame of working choral editions of early church music, Sally Dunkley. The thesis that runs through the disc states that the early years if Elizabeth I's reign, during which all these pieces were written, were ones of exponentially rapid change in the identity of the polyphony of Latin - based texts from conservative to freely composed imitative music. With the exception of Byrd's Quomodo Cantabimus, it is a programme of frequently performed works; and although it may have been more ‘worthy' to populate such a disc with obscurer music, to match the depth of Dunkley's scholarly commitment to this music, it is nevertheless enormously gratifying to have the opportunity to listen with impunity to such nonpareils of the Tudor period sung so beautifully.


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Parsons, White & Byrd: Where late the sweet birds sangParsons, White & Byrd: Where late the sweet birds sang