"I don’t think there’s an ensemble singing English Renaissance music with as much conviction (they sound so “in” this music) and beauty as Stile Antico. This is an outstanding recording on every level..." Read More...
— - Craig Zeichner, ARIAMA.COM,
Harmonia Mundi USA press release
Whether the text has erotic or spiritual meaning, heartbeats were set racing... Read More...
— Charles Downey,
LA Times includes Puer Natus Est in Christmas recommendations
Stile Antico - an ensemble of young British singers, pure of voice, their texture thick and sweet as pudding - here make Thomas Tallis' Christmas Mass and other examples of seasonal 16th century English choral glisten.
— Mark Swed,
Stile Antico's version goes to the top of the short list. Throughout they sing with sensitivity, balance, and beauty. A superb disc. Read More...
— All Manner of Thing
Time Out New York includes Puer Natus Est in Best of 2010
Even Scrooge would embrace this transporting survey of Tudor English Christmas music, sublimely sung by a young English choir whose every new release demands hearing.
— Steve Smith,
Time Out New York
Repeated hearings have done nothing to shorten the depth or diminish the intensity of first impressions left by Stile Antico's work here. Puer natus est is for life, not just for Christmas! Read More...
— Andrew Stewart,
Classic FM Magazine
This Christmas offering stands out among similar releases in a very competitive field, and Harmonia mundi has captured them in wondrous surround sound fashion at All Hollows Church in London. A fabulous disc just in time for the holidays! Read More...
— Steven Ritter,
BBC Music gives five stars to Puer Natus Est
Tallis's incomplete Mass Puer natus est is the key item on this CD, a work of intricate grandeur weaving seven voice-parts in music of mesmerising beauty and wonder. Here's an exceptional performance by the young award-winning British ensemble Stile Antico, who work without a conductor and seem all the more sensitised and focused for it. Robert White's glowingly affirmative Magnificat is the single longest piece here, and again highlights the choir's outstanding technical aptitude and warmly expressive instints.
— Terry Blain,
Stile Antico gets every nuance of the piece, from the tolling plainchant melody in the cantus firmus to the bell-like spin of melismas rising above. Their phrasing is so good it's almost hard to unthread in a piece of such rich fabric; one line may disappear, but it's always there, as in the reverse side of a Flemish tapestry. Read More...
— Rick Hamlin,
New York Times includes Puer Natus Est in Best of Year
A large body of choral works from 16th-century Britain forms a particularly transcendent strand in the rich history of Western sacred music. Stile Antico brings delicious balance and otherworldly beauty to this recording of music by Tallis, Taverner, Byrd, White and Sheppard. Listening will restore meaning to the holidays amid the retail onslaught.
— Daniel J. Wakin,
New York Times
Any discussion of these works' technical aspects runs the risk of making this recording sound academic and austere. Nothing could be further from the truth - this is exquisite music, performed with a sense of wondrous discovery, and perfect spiritual comfort for the troubled soul. Read More...
— Graham Rickson,
The Arts Desk
This is a wonderful disc. I enjoyed it from start to finish and marvelled at the quality of the performances... I can only urge you to acquire this exceptionally fine disc and let the radiance of the music and the performances illuminate your Christmas. Read More...
— John Quinn,
One thing that sets this group apart from similar ensembles is the fact that it works without a conductor, making aesthetic decisions together and listening very, very closely to each for balance and tempos. It's possible to hear the singers' commitment to each other in their attentiveness to the subtlest nuances in dynamics and pacing. Their approach is ideal for this repertoire, English Renaissance polyphony, which demands intense concentration, absolutely secure intonation, and a carefully balanced blend to make its full impact. Read More...
— Stephen Eddins,
The Kentish Gazette reviews Stile Antico in Canterbury
Has there ever been such extraordinary music making and such sublime sounds as those heard in the Cathedral Crypt presented by the world-acclaimed Stile Antico? The young British ensemble of 13 unaccompanied voices worked without conductor, working as chamber musicians, achieving a perfect ensemble, and presenting a programme of Renaissance music centred on composers pondering the end of life and beyond. Complex polyphonic works by amongst others, Lassus, Schutz, Dufay, Byrd and Sheppard were interpolated with the purity of plainsong. This was extraordinary beauty, matching both the simplicty and complexity of the 12th century crypt. Here we were subject to music composed for places such as this and it was heavenly.The vocal techniques of Stile Antico were equally remarkable, maintaining perfect tuning through all pieces even when performing Sheppard's Media Vita lasting 25 minutes. Long phrases were sung with focus and poise, diction was immaculate, balance perfect, expression lucid. It is a very long time since hearing such magical choral singing in such a fitting setting.
The Kentish Gazette
Yorkshire Post enjoys Puer Natus Est
Stile Antico, probably the finest Early Music vocal chamber group this country has ever produced, have devised a disc of "Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas" including Tallis's magnificent seven-part Christmas Mass, Puer natus est. Their hallmark of sopranos that so bewitchingly drift on high, with the men forming the solid ground level, is ideal for this mix of music by Byrd, Taverner, White and Sheppard. They shape each piece with immaculate balance and refinement, a mood much helped by the recording engineers.
— David Denton,
Puer Natus Est praised in The Times
A disc of sumptuous warmth and rapture from this wonderful British early music choir. The chosen Tudor church repertoire relates to Advent and Christmas, but it's really music for all time, all seasons. Tallis's incomplete Missa Puer natus est has the grandest sounds; Sheppard and White's pieces dazzle by extravagance, while Byrd's beguile with their sweet economy. Singing without a conductor, the choir's tuning and rapport are impeccable. Clap your hands too for the atmospheric acoustic, bathing it all in gold.
— Geoff Brown,
Puer Natus Est praised in the San Francisco Chronicle
Stile Antico, the suave young British vocal ensemble whose CD of 16th century settings from the Song of Songs was one of the musical highlights of last year, has come through with another gem - and just in time for the Christmas season, if the folks on your shopping list have a taste for Renaissance polyphony. This disc of Tudor music for Advent and Christmas shows off the elegance and richness of the English style, in performances marked by tonal purity and translucent vocal textures. At the heart of the lineup is the "Missa Puer Natus Est," Thomas Tallis' elaborate and expansive Christmas Mass, whose movements serve as an anchor for the other offerings. Those include short works by William Byrd, notable for their melodic beauty and craft, as well as music by John Taverner, Robert White and John Sheppard; Tallis' intricate and eloquent motet "Videte miraculum" begins the disc in sumptuous fashion.
— Joshua Kosman,
San Fransisco Chronicle
The centerpiece of the program was certainly the twenty-three-minute-long Lenten antiphon Media vita by John Sheppard, who served in the Chapel Royal under Henry VIII and Mary Tudor. This was pre-Elizabethan sacred polyphony at its most magnificent, with sections for six voice parts topped by the high trebles for which English choirs were famous alternating with verses for fewer voices. From intricate counterpoint to dissonant cadential clashes, Stile Antico carried it all off with aplomb. Read More...
— Virginia Newes,
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
The long work on the program was John Sheppard's monumental 'Media vita,'- at around 25 minutes, one of the largest unbroken movements of a cappella singing produced in the Renaissance. It's difficult to imagine a better performance of this exhausting work; it was not only beautifully sung but perfectly structured, with careful attention to phrasing, bringing a listener from its hesitant opening to a spiritually ecstatic close... Read More...
— David Weiniger,
The Boston Globe
Puer Natus Est receives high praise in The Observer
Surely the pick of the new CDs for Christmas this year, this exquisitely performed and beautifully planned disc is another winner for Stile Antico, a young, versatile and conductor-less group. They bring together Tallis's incomplete but richly resonant mass Puer natus est with Byrd's much tighter, shorter Advent motets from The Gradualia, a satisfying contrast. Then they add Robert White's expansive Magnificat and Sheppard's glorious Verbum caro to finish. Sometimes there is an emphasis on sound at the expense of the words, but what a sound: perfectly blended, carefully balanced, its sonorities reaching back effortlessly to conjure up a vanished age of devotion.
— Nicholas Kenyon,
Philadelphia Inquirer names Puer Natus Est as 'best yet'
Another great disc by the young British polyphony choir Stile Antico? Yes, but this one is a step above the previous recordings made in its few years of existence. The program of English Renaissance music by Tallis, Byrd, and White is first nature to most British choir singers, but this group brings a particular kind of authority, clearly tracking the individual linear ideas and giving them a sense of individual purpose. Though the music's outer contours are by no means distorted, inner voices have extra definition, in terms of both sound and articulation. And while the performances don't exactly explain the music, individual singers seem to have plumbed the depths of what it means. Next to this one, many recordings of similar reputation have a beautiful blankness, which has earned such music an unfair reputation for exquisite monotony. Once you start this disc, you can't tear yourself away. Footnote: The group is now on a U.S. tour.
— David Patrick Stearns,
The entrances were smooth and precise, the passing tone dissonances were like flowers opening their petals with pitches perfectly centered. The weaving of the themes like tapestry coming off the loom made the music equal to the sensuous and rapturous poetry. The ends of phrases were as precise as the attacks whether they were firm and full or as soft as a lark soaring off in the distance... Read More...
— Ken Hoover,
Classical Voice of North Carolina
Their best recording yet... Stile Antico's account of the Tallis Mass is masterful, displaying this small director-less choir's sure sense of this expansive work's architecture. Tuning and ensemble are perfect throughout... In short, another triumph for Stile Antico and Harmonia Mundi Read More...
— Christopher Price,
International Record Review
Amongst the maze of recordings of this repertoire, so beloved of English groups, one piece of advice: Audite miraculum
- listen to this miracle. Read More...
— David Fiala,
This CD is extremely difficult to review, because it is, well, perfect... Stile Antico cuts to the heart of the text and music, presenting both aspects perfectly sung, perfectly felt, perfect in every way... Read More...
— Beth Adelman,
Early Music America
I remember 25 years ago when I first heard The Tallis Scholars and thought how lucky we early music fans were to have this group and its recordings and performances to look forward to; with continuing respect for Peter Phillips and his groundbreaking ensemble, I find those same thoughts returning with every new Stile Antico recording. Read More...
— David Vernier,
The Times reviews Stile Antico at the BBC Proms
Earlier, superior music-making ruled in the lunchtime Prom at Cadogan Hall. The divine British vocal group Stile Antico sailed without hiccup (or conductor) through Renaissance settings of texts from the biblical Song of Songs. Breasts, pomegranates, apples, honey: the sensuous vocabulary vibrated with that mellifluous vocal bliss only possible with long rehearsals, close listening and constant eye contact. The repertoire, from Nicolas Gombert to Michael Praetorius, shifted between lip-smacking and the devout, but Stile Antico's pitch, unanimity and beauty never wavered.
— Geoff Brown,
Their sound was wonderfully clean and vibrant, and their democratic decision not to have a conductor - to operate, in effect, as chamber musicians - was triumphantly vindicated: no conductor could have calibrated this ensemble performance more finely... In short, this was a cappella heaven. Read More...
— Michael Church,
Stile Antico, a vocal chamber ensemble already very well-known in the UK, delighted the audience with its twelve near-perfect voices in its Schleswig-Holstein debut at Rellingen Church.. Read More...
— Heinke Ballin,
Stile Antico's sense of structure and direction is impressive in the extreme; this is a carefully thought-out, serious and intimate recording... Read More...
— Jonathan Wikeley,
The Classical Review