The Kyrie from the Requiem Mass of 1605, from Tomás Luis de Victoria and the sound of Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, who’s sung this music himself many times with King’s Singers and the Tallis Scholars. But there is an intensity, an emotional range, Tenebrae seems to be able to draw on that makes this really special alongside the purity and accuracy we’ve come to expect from this very versatile ensemble. To find ourselves on the jury putting forward two of their recent recordings to the public vote just proved the point, it could have been their disc of Parry’s Songs of Farewell, but it was the Victoria that won the day. Both discs are of Signum Classics.
Choral recordings seem to get better and better, and this year has brought a vintage crop. Tenebrae's Victoria Requiem on Signum Classics is a lovely recording—transparent, tranquil, and heartfelt: it's a version I can listen to again and again. The choir is a size smaller than the chamber choirs of a generation ago, and paring forces down to Tenebrae's size gives you lightness and transparency, and allows the polyphonic lines to emerge more clearly in a lovely way. But all of this is only possible because the professional choral singers who are around now are so good that they'll withstand that kind of clarity.