The fertile, rich polyphony of the Missa Dum Sacrum mysterium and the 19-part O bone Jesu has a flavour of its own. Unlike Byrd or Tallis, Carver doesn't go for sustained, ecstatic flight; the ear focuses more on telling details or subtle changes in sonority. That can give the music a stop-start effect in performance. Not here, though: these new versions have a momentum and expressive conviction that isn't matched by any other recordings I've heard. Each piece or movement is a live, evolving experience, with a natural climax. Just how "correct" the approach is I am in no position to say, but the conviction carried me along, and The Sixteen's clarity and technical security add to the sheer sensuous pleasure - as does the warm, spacious recorded sound.
With the two Carver works come two extras: the plainchant on which the Mass is based, and an anonymous Magnificat - not as distinctive as genuine Carver, perhaps, but further proof that musical life at the Chapel Royal of James IV was healthy and distinctive.Reuse content