Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis Ralph Vaughan Williams
Vocal ensemble Stile Antico take English composer John Sheppard's striking works to glorious heights
Repertoire: Media Vita
Artists: Stile Antico
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMU 807509
English composer John Sheppard (c.1515-1558) worked at the Chapel Royal around the same time as Tallis, but little detail of his life is known. What makes his music so striking is the complex yet transparent lines of his vocal writing and the tangy clashes and ‘false relations’ he uses in his harmony. It’s quite a revelation, especially when sung with such unerring strength and clarity as it is here by the 14-part vocal ensemble Stile Antico. From the relative simplicity of English word-settings such as The Lord’s Prayer to the grand, Latin architecture of the 25-minute Media Vita, this is awe-inspiringly beautiful music, gloriously performed.