This recording has a huge advantage over most of its rivals for the attention of Tallis listeners: the wonderful acoustics of Winchester Cathedral. In this magnificent space, the soaring lines and resplendent harmonies of Tallis's greatest masterpieces find sympathetic resonance, resulting in a heightened dramatic presence that takes the music beyond earthly confines. Of course, beyond the exceptional quality of the writing, credit must go to the phenomenal men and boys of Winchester Cathedral Choir. Where, even in England, does one find trebles who sing with more assuredness, musicality, and beauty of tone? With a repertoire including "In ieiunio et fletu," "Salvator mundi," "In manus tuas," "The Lamentations of Jeremiah," "O nata lux," and the unbelievable 40-part motet "Spem in alium," this is the Tallis disc to own if you're buying only one.
Here's a Symphony of Psalms that successfully captures the spirit and letter of the work–reverence, jubilation, and celebration, as well as specifics of orchestral color and texture. Boys' voices–supposedly Stravinsky's original choice–contribute their share to the bright choral timbre, an effect that works very well. We also get first-rate performances of the Mass and the rarely recorded Canticum sacrum.