Album: The Sixteen, Palestrina, vol 4 (Coro)

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The Independent Culture

The faithful who gazed up at the didactic art of Rome's places of worship did so to the music of Palestrina, whose soaring, arcing lines and setting with conviction of the Mass and other liturgical and biblical texts are wondrously realised in The Sixteen's continuing exploration of the composer.

Showpiece of this fourth volume is the Missa O Magnum Mysterium, based on the composer's Christmas motet, the Gloria and Credo growing in confidence from line to line, and two settings of the Agnus Dei summoning the communicant with solemnity. The sensual Fasciculus myrrhae dilectus ("A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me"), from the Song of Songs, in contrast, reveals a man with worldly passions, too.