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December 8, 2003

Seattle Post-Intellencer

The highly esteemed English vocal ensemble was here on its 25th anniversary and Friday night at St. Mark's Cathedral on its 30th anniversary. Needless to say, after three decades of international touring and recording, the 10 singers, led by Peter Phillips, were greeted by a full house of connoisseurs who listened raptly to a program of Italian and Flemish Renaissance polyphony.

Founded by Phillips the Tallis Scholars is arguably the finest exponent of Renaissance sacred vocal music in the world. That expertise could be heard in every phrase in Friday's concert: the stylistic surety, brilliant sound and refined and vivid musicianship. As informed by scholarship as Phillips and these singers are, they are never buried in the details of ancient traditions. Rather, they are fully engaged in what they do and bring this remarkable music to life.

Their approach -- so polished and sophisticated -- is carefully calibrated, but seemingly spontaneous. Pitch for the Tallis Scholars is never a sometime thing despite singing highly difficult music all night a cappella. It never wavered and provided its own sense of vocal rightness. The ensemble is tight and focused and marvelously balanced. The sopranos possess that purity of sound for which English singers are well-known, warmed by the lyricism of the tenors and basses and altos (a woman and man). All together, a transpired blend of timbres. More

Posted by acapnews at December 8, 2003 9:52 PM


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