Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea etc | CD review

Delphian

John Taverner was arguably the most important English composer of the first quarter of the 16th century, and a major influence on the generations that came after him, including those of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and even Henry Purcell. Though the more scurrilous claims about his life (some of which form the basis of the plot of Peter Maxwell Davies's great 1970s opera Taverner) have since been disproved, many of the details, at least up to the mid-1520s, when he took up a post at Oxford University, remain sketchy, and the dating of his compositions is often approximate. The great masterpiece on this disc, though, the six-part Missa Corona Spinea, almost certainly dates from Taverner's years in Oxford before the reformation. The mass is surrounded here by smaller-scale pieces, including two settings of the Easter responsory Dum Transisset Sabbatum, and the austere five-part antiphon O Splendor Glorie, which may or not have been composed by Taverner himself. The performances by the mixed choir of Edinburgh Cathedral are caught in a wonderfully vivid, close acoustic, so the beautifully elaborate polyphony seems all-embracing.

Contributor

Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Maxwell Davies; Taverner : Hill/Wilson Johnson/Fretwork/London Voices/New London Children's Choir/BBCSO/Knussen

No single work in Davies's now-voluminous ­output has greater significance in his composing career, says Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

30, Oct, 2009 @12:01 AM

Article image
Taverner: Missa Corona spinea CD review – dizzyingly virtuosic
The Tallis Scholars hit all the high notes on this famously challenging work

Stephen Pritchard

01, Nov, 2015 @8:00 AM

CD: Maxwell Davies: A Mirror of Whitening Light; Military March; Second Taverner Fantasia

(MaxOpus)

Andrew Clements

16, Sep, 2005 @12:14 AM

Classical review: Victoria: Missa Gaudeamus, etc: Westminster Cathedral: Lay Clerks/Wilson/Martin

It makes a compelling whole, sung with rapt purity, says Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

25, Jun, 2009 @11:01 PM

Victoria: Missa de Beata Maria Virgine; Missa Surge Propera etc – review
The Westminster Cathedral Choir's contribution to the recent Victoria-fest isn't very distinctive, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Dec, 2011 @10:45 PM

Article image
CD: Josquin: Missa Sine Nomine; Missa Ad Fugam

(Gimell)

Andrew Clements

11, Apr, 2008 @8:49 AM

Guerrero: Missa Congratulamini Mihi, etc
The outstanding group The Cardinall's Musick play at their usual high standard on this album of Francisco Guerrero's Easter-themed mass settings, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

05, Aug, 2010 @10:15 PM

Guerrero: Missa L'Homme Armé, etc - review
La Sestina's recording of Francisco Guerrero's Missa L'Homme Armé suffers from too cosy a sound for music that needs grandeur and detachment, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

24, Mar, 2011 @10:15 PM

Willaert: Missa Mente Tota; Motets, etc | Classical CD review
This is an immaculately realised sequence, sung with simple directness by the six male voices of Cinquecento, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Jul, 2010 @9:40 PM

Taverner | Opera review

City Halls, Glasgow
The BBCSSO's performance of Peter Maxwell Davies's monumental opera Taverner to celebrate the composer's 75th birthday proves it is a masterpiece, writes Rowena Smith

Rowena Smith

09, Nov, 2009 @9:45 PM