Puer Natus Est - Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas (2010)

Sheppard, Anonymous, White, Byrd, Tallis, Taverner

Stile Antico

The backbone of this programme of Advent and Christmas music is Thomas Tallis’s extraordinary, yet incomplete, Christmas mass, Missa Puer natus est. In spite of the work’s phenomenal scope, there is no conclusive evidence as to its origin. One attractive theory holds that the mass was first performed by the joint forces of Queen Mary’s Chapel Royal and Philip II of Spain’s renowned Capilla Flamenca in December 1554 (Philip and Mary had married earlier in the year). It is based on the plainchant Puer natus est nobis – the introit for Christmas Day Mass – and it has been suggested that the plainchant may well have held a double entendre for its first hearers, as Mary was at the time erroneously believed to be pregnant with a much hoped-for heir. The work’s lavish and unusual seven-part scoring – and the presence of Flemish influences in Tallis’s writing – lend weight to this theory. On the other hand, the question of exactly when the first performance might have taken place presents a problem. We know that such a ‘joint service’ took place at St Paul’s Cathedral on 2 December, but that is unlikely to have been the occasion on which this mass was performed: Tallis surely knew the difference between Advent and Christmas – and cared! Furthermore, as one scholar has argued, it seems improbable that Tallis ‘would have been so insensitive as to use a text beginning “Puer natus est nobis” to celebrate the Queen’s rumoured pregnancy when the sex of the child, the survival of both child and mother and the stability of the realm would all have been causes of trepidation rather than rejoicing’.1

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Stile Antico

stile antico is an ensemble of young British singers, now established as one of the most original and exciting voices in its field. Much in demand in concert, the group performs regularly throughout Europe and North America. Their recordings on the harmonia mundi label have enjoyed great success, winning awards including the Diapason d’or de l’anne?e and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and have twice attracted Grammy® nominations. Their release Song of Songs won the 2009 Gramophone Award for Early Music and reached the top of the Billboard® Classical Chart.

Working without a conductor, the members of stile antico rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing artistically to the musical result. Their performances have repeatedly been praised for their vitality and commitment, expressive lucidity and imaginative response to text. Stile Antico’s recent engagements include debuts at the BBC Proms, London’s Wigmore and Cadogan Halls, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, early music festivals in Boston, Bruges, Barcelona and Utrecht, and at the Cervantino Festival in Mexico. The group has toured extensively with Sting, appearing across Europe, Australia and the Far East as part of his Dowland project Songs from the Labyrinth, and is regularly invited to lead courses at Dartington International Summer School.

 

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Puer Natus Est - Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas (2010)

Sheppard, Anonymous, White, Byrd, Tallis, Taverner

Stile Antico

Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Robina G. Young
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel
Recording location: All Hallows church, Gospel Oak, London
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807517DI: Puer Natus Est - Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas
01:18:01   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Videte miraculum
Tallis
00:11:38   Select quality & channels above
2.
Audivi vocem de caelo
Taverner
00:04:09   Select quality & channels above
3.
Rorate caeli desuper
Byrd
00:04:41   Select quality & channels above
4.
Missa Puer natus est: Gloria
Tallis
00:09:27   Select quality & channels above
5.
Tollite portas
Byrd
00:02:09   Select quality & channels above
6.
Missa Puer natus est: Sanctus & Benedictus
Tallis
00:08:54   Select quality & channels above
7.
Ave Maria
Byrd
00:02:08   Select quality & channels above
8.
Missa Puer natus est: Agnus Dei
Tallis
00:08:22   Select quality & channels above
9.
Ecce virgo concipiet
Byrd
00:02:15   Select quality & channels above
10.
Magnificat
White
00:13:51   Select quality & channels above
11.
Puer natus est
Anonymous
00:01:11   Select quality & channels above
12.
Verbum caro
Sheppard
00:09:16   Select quality & channels above

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