Sounds Sublime - The Essential Collection / Christophers, The Sixteen

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Highlights from some of the most celebrated recordings from Harry Christophers and his award-winning ensemble. Equally appealing to fans of The Sixteen and those who are new to the group, this disc provides a definitive collection of familiar classics and lesser-known treasures.

R E V I E W:
British choir the Sixteen is billed as being among "the Voices of Classic FM," the impressively successful British independent classical radio network. This mixed-gender adult group of (natch) 16 voices performs music ranging from the early English Renaissance to Mozart and, on occasion, the Romantics. An objection to their style might be that they tend to sound similar in all these repertories. This double-CD "essential collection" tends to reinforce that idea, but it also showcases the group's considerable strengths. To put it briefly, the Sixteen makes early music go down easy and does so without turning it completely into something different. The vocal surfaces are gorgeous, and each album contains a note by director Harry Christophers that touches on connections between the music's origins and its resonances in our own time. They sweat the details and that has never been more apparent than in this greatest-hits release. Most of the time such albums are left to label underlings and produced without imagination, but this one is beautifully packaged and has a full new set of notes concisely explaining the album's fresh concept. That concept is well thought-out; the album is not just a random selection of tracks somehow judged to be the best of the Sixteen, whose music-making is nothing if not consistent. Instead, each piece chosen is associated with a specific historical event, many of them significant junctures in British history. You couldn't ask for a better place to start in approaching unfamiliar music than to get a basic grip on its context in this way and then have it very attractively performed. The remastering is very strong; there's little sense of shifting sonic perspective even though the originals are drawn from a wide variety of this prolific group's releases. All this makes the album a fine introduction to one of modern Britain's most successful vocal groups.

-- All Music Guide

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: COR16073

  • UPC: 828021607325

  • Label: Coro

  • Composer: Antonio Lotti, Antonio Teixeira, Antonio Vivaldi, Benjamin Britten, Domenico Scarlatti, Francis Poulenc, Frank Martin, Gabriel Fauré, George Frideric Handel, Giovanni Palestrina, Gregorio Allegri, Henry Purcell, Jean Yves Daniel-Lesur, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, John Sheppard, John Tavener, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Thomas Tallis, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Conductor: Harry Christophers

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, The Sixteen

  • Performer: Christopher Glynn, Christopher Purves, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Elin Manahan Thomas, Gary Cooper, Libby Crabtree, Lynda Russell, Lynne Dawson, Michael George, Nicola Jenkin, Roger Montgomery, Ruth Dean, Sally Dunkley