Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

J. F. Weber
Fanfare, November 2013

James Wood’s collection of sacred music from the Eton Choirbook competes with a larger collection from Coro on five discs, but that should not deter a recommendation of the new disc. © 2013 Fanfare

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, June 2013

The performances are first rate, and the Church of St. Alban’s captured very well in a recording that is a sterling addition to any Renaissance collection, and also makes a fine introduction to the music of the Eton composers. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Glyn Pursglove
MusicWeb International, April 2013

…these are fine performances, excellently recorded by Geoff Miles using new, experimental microphones with happy results…the choices made by Pitts and his choir are thoroughly satisfying. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bill Gatens
American Record Guide, January 2013

…performances leave nothing to be desired in technical polish or stylistic poise. They employ expressive dynamic contrasts, but not to the point of subjective excess. Admirers of this repertory will not be disappointed. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Rebecca Tavener
Choir & Organ, December 2012

The subtle, non-treble-dominated approach taken by Tonus Peregrinus gladdens the heart. In a wonderful programme…they radiate delight in the music with exemplary accuracy and delicacy of interpretation. © 2012 Choir & Organ

Anthony Pryer
BBC Music Magazine, October 2012

‘These performances are commendable, displaying unearthly breath control in the long phrases of works such as Kellyk’s Magnificat, and great clarity of texture in the dense counterpoint typical of these pieces.’ © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

David Fallows
Gramophone, October 2012

It is great to have a new recording from the Eton Choirbook…It is also great to have a new recording to Richard Davy’s Passion setting…In particular it is good to have what may be the first recording of the Magnificat by Hugo Kellyk…And it is good that Antony Pitts has applied his composer’s instinct and experience to the very tricky matter of editorial accidentals in this music, resulting in a far wider range of chromatic colour than even the boldest of available recordings…the CD is an undoubted success. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone, August 2012

…the desirable qualities of the human voice remain as they have been for centuries: purity, accuracy, high tonal quality, and the ability to subsume oneself into the lyrics. Music from the Eton Choirbook has all these characteristics in excellent performances…the works, one and all, are on religious themes that are presented with restrained intensity and a deep sense of belief, from Davy’s St. Matthew Passion to Browne’s Stabat Mater and Kellyk’s Magnificat, which here receives its première recording. But what gives this Naxos CD its communicative power, even in our more-secular time, is the tonal richness and beautiful ensemble work of Tonus Peregrinus under Antony Pitts. Written for a much earlier age, these pieces continue to have a good deal to say to ours. © 2012 Read complete review

Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointers, August 2012

A very rewarding compilation of music from ‘one of the greatest surviving glories of pre-reformation England’. Music for 4 parts to an amazing 13 in Wylkynson’s Jesus autem transiens/Credo in Deum. Excellent annotation by Antony Pitts, and superbly recorded with Geoff Miles’ special “elephant ears” microphone. A disc to play again and again… © 2012 Musical Pointers

Steve Holtje
eMusic, August 2012

The Eton Choirbook…contains some of the smoothest textures in music history…Five composers are represented on this album, which among its small sampling of Eton treasures includes the first recording of Hugh Kellyk’s five-voice Magnificat, one of the older works in the Choirbook. It is an ecstatic work with a wide range and a more serpentine melodic sense than anything else heard here. The six-voice Stabat mater of John Browne is a darkly beautiful setting full of sensual phrases and widely separated voices that lend a great sense of drama…the four-voice Magnificat by William Stratford with its odd structural deviations that colorfully depict the text, and Robert Wylkynson’s uniquely eccentric 13-voice Credo, full of lively rhythms. © 2012 eMusic Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, August 2012

The Eton Choirbook is one of three sacred music manuscripts to have survived the Reformation in England including motets, Magnificats and one Passion. Diminished in size during these tumultuous times, it nonetheless, provides copious options for Antony Pitts to draw upon for this astounding Naxos recording.

A handful of pre-Reformation composers are well represented on this CD that colorfully displays the techniques of early Tudor polyphony. The music is richly captivating, breathtaking and inspirational. Antony Pitts has made a punctilious choosing in all vocal ranges to provide a broader, more emboldened and fully developed interpretation of the music.

Acoustics are phenomenal. There is a nicely tempered resonance which ends each of the pieces, bringing forth an enlightened, ethereal atmosphere. It’s as though one is being lifted up to the heavens! Bravo, beautiful and brilliant! © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2012

Residing in the English public school of Eton College Chapel is the giant five hundred year old manuscript containing the glories of pre-Reformation music. Probably started around 1500 it was an undertaking that would have cost a considerable amount of money. That music could not be easily reproduced, it was copied out on velum, the notation so large that it could be viewed by the singers gathered around. There are no bar lines, no indication of the speed, the spread of notes obviating any vertical alignment that became normal. Twenty-five composers are represented, a number of them having had links with Eaton, but sadly not all of the original book survived. What is left is a precious testimony of the quality of sacred music being composed in England, the disc’s enclosed booklet giving valuable background information and the Latin words with English translation. The disc’s contents offer one work from each of six composers, notable among them Richard Davy’s St. Matthew Passion, the first known passion to have come from a named writer. For four voices, it is the disc’s most extended work at over twenty minutes, though as the booklet relates, the most bizarre piece for that era was the canon for thirteen voices by Robert Wylkynson on the words of the Apostles’ Creed. The book contained twenty-four settings of the Magnificat, the one chosen here coming from Hugh Kellyk in a virtuoso piece for five voices. Tonus Peregrinus’s thirteen singers include the pick of vocalists working in this field of music. As its director, Antony Pitts, would accept that these are his best guess as to how the music should sound, the singing being of excellent technical quality in a beautifully balanced recording. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group