MICHAEL DRAKE St Peter Mancroft, Norwich
> St Peter Mancroft, Norwich
Worlds apart in time, this exciting a cappella mixed choir of utmost expertise managed to close the musical gap between the centenary of the birth of Michael Tippett and the 500th anniversary of that of Thomas Tallis last evening at the start of another Choral Pilgrimage.
And how privileged was Norwich to appear in the list of illustrious venues once again. From the first ringing soprano plea to the Saviour of the World (Salvator Muni) by Tallis, the Sixteen's remarkable vocal clarity and totally balanced full sound was evidenced.
Conducted by their founder, Harry Christophers, they moved easily from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter in which Tallis's music so beautifully fitted the words and the choir its moods, to Tippett's Five Spirituals.
The wonderfully harmonic and atmospheric arrangements are refined from the original but it was so full of fresh musical character and impeccable vocal control.
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Back to Tallis and O Nata Lux like a shaft of laser light and O Sacrum Convivium of subtle tonal gradation - a quality equally displayed on Tippett's Plebs Angelica before the weaving and taxing 16th-century polyphony of Gaude Gloriousa from a never-tiring Sixteen.
And not easily forgotten was Tallis's Suscipe Quaeso. Could anyone not be forgiven after this performance where false relations were made to sound like old friends? It was all inspiring for listeners who love singing as well as singers who love listening.