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Fanfare Magazine: 38:5 (04-05/2015) 
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Musica Ficta

Code-barres / Barcode : 5410939802227

"...highly recommended."

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Reviewer: Barry Brenesal

This is a welcome release, given that no recordings in the current catalog contain more than a few examples of Tye’s consort music. Here we get 21 In Nomines, along with eight other pieces that include six arrangements of sacred choral works (among them, the popular Christus resurgens). This album has been long overdue, given the combination of skill and fanciful imagination Tye brought to the In Nomine genre. The Spirit of Gambo are well suited to the task, providing a sleekly attractive sound, transparent textures, and excellent phrasing. Their regular lineup is abetted on this disc by Liam Fenelly, who plays treble and tenor viol, and by soprano Claron McFadden in a pair of selections.

It would be remiss not to write a few words about those two pieces. A part in one of the In Nomines has been recast for voice—whether in period or modern arrangement isn’t clear, since sources aren’t mentioned. (Not that it matters as such. The sarcosanct Urtext didn’t appear until the Romantic Age.) It doesn’t work especially well, as McFadden’s fine soprano at its loudest sounds here like a wordless Romantic-period vocalise; and when she sings at softer levels, her voice vanishes under the complexities of the composer’s very active consort textures.

A consort song arrangement of Tye’s choral In Pace in idipsum presents a different problem: Bass gambist Thomas Baeté’s accurate but raspy singing of the plainchant awkwardly interrupts the piece three times in a way that runs contrary to the professional sound of both The Spirit of Gambo and McFadden, who has the treble line. We might over-think this as an attempt to contrast two worlds, that of polished performance and the priest at a small, ordinary church, but on a purely visceral level, the chant’s execution simply distracts from the rest.

These are, however, minor points in the enjoyment of an album that has 27 other cuts to offer, all supplying great pleasure both through their intrinsic content and performance. Excellent engineering, otherwise; brief, superficial liner notes. Notwithstanding my criticisms above, highly recommended.


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