Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, USA
January 2009

Ostensibly marking the 500th anniversary of the coronation of King Henry VIII, the Tallis Scholars are releasing these two two-disc sets to celebrate the occasion, full of some of the finest Tudor music ever composed, though each and every one is a re-release of previous material. These sets are essentially half-price (going for around 20 bucks each), and well worth the investment if you don't already have the duplications.

For those newcomers to this group, suffice it to say that you will rarely find an ensemble as carefully rehearsed or skillfully prepared for the repertory they choose to engage in—simply one of the finest ever, legendary, and there has never been a disc they have released that has gotten less that rave reviews. Some people find the sound a little close on some of the discs, but this is a nit—the singing has been standard setting for years, and I find myself just a little envious of those who are only now discovering them. Conductor Peter Phillips has been at the forefront of the revival of late Medieval and early Renaissance music for some time now, and this set could serve as the beginning of a great discovery for many people. Especially noteworthy are the three aforementioned Western Wind Masses, the first instance of English composers setting a mass to a popular tune (Taverner was the first). But all of these recordings are splendid, and worth the modicum of money to enhance any worthwhile collection.