William Cornysh - Stabat Mater

After the release of this album it was discovered that there were two composers called William Cornysh, father and son.

For the track list and album notes and to buy the CD or Album Download please click the link to the Hyperion Records website.

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Henry VIII of England met Francis I of France on a pasture near Calais: the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a lavish prototype for the jamboree Euro-summits of today. A notable difference, apart from some 2,200 sheep being consumed, was the presence of at least two composers: Jean Mouton (1459-1522) in the French camp, William Cornysh (1465-1523) in the English.

As part of the Choral at Cadogan series, the formidable Tallis Scholars gave a thoughtfully constructed programme of works by these composers, including an Ave Maria from both and culminating in Cornysh's five-part Magnificat, one of the glories of the era. These a cappella meditations, interweaving plainchant and polyphony, sober canon and rhythmic surprise, take the listener as near extraterrestrial as you can get sitting in a concert hall.

This style of singing may not attract the shouting headlines of opera stars but their virtuosity is equally exciting, their impact magical.

Fiona Maddox

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