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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Volume 5, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Some music, when properly performed, speaks to us across the centuries. That is especially true of the choral music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, especially true as sung by the Sixteen under Harry Christophers.

They are now here with a volume 5 of his works (Coro 16124), and it's as good and evocative as all the other volumes, so that the Sixteen are fast becoming the authoritative choice for excellent Palestrina.

This volume contains more of the Palestrina that stuns with its contrapuntal beauty, a number of shorter works, the sublime "Song of Songs" nos. 13, 14, & 15, and the "Missa Iam Christus Astra Ascenderat".

The Sixteen as always have a lustrous, transparent tone that brings out the counterpoint with vividness. It's easy to praise Palestrina in textbook terms, but perfectly exemplary performances that demonstrate his brilliance aren't terribly common. The Sixteen come though here and in the set as a whole with the balance of voices and clarity so essential to get a proper, moving picture of his genius unfolding in time.

This volume is highly recommended, as is the entire set thus far.

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