History has not been kind to the great Tudor church composer John Taverner. He was described as a fanatical ideologue who regretted writing 'Popish [i.e. Catholic] ditties' during his 'time of blindness', meaning before he turned Protestant. Eventually he gave up composing to become an enthusiastic persecutor of monks, in the pay of Thomas Cromwell. In fact there's no evidence that Taverner ever seriously turned Protestant, and we know he treated the monks he was obliged to throw out of their Lincolnshire monastery with great courtesy.
Those doctrinal battles are long gone, but, as this fabulous recording shows, Taverner's music lives on, praising God in its own way.The music floats rapturously, as it should, but even so you can feel the pulse underneath. Here and there, as in the 'Et expecto' passage in the Credo, there's a sudden burst of rhythmic excitement. However, the real glory of this recording is the sopranos. They sing Taverner's stratospheric high voice parts with truly staggering perfection. If they don't persuade sceptics that women can actually sing Tudor polyphony better than boys, then nothing will.