Review: ROMA AETERNA - NEW YORK POLYPHONY

08.25.16
New York Polyphony
AllMusic

The album isn't intended as historically informed performance, yet it actually comes close in some ways to what might have been heard in the time of Palestrina, Victoria, and Guerrero. Palestrina's choirs numbered a few dozen, yet there are records of his music being sung one to a part in smaller situations. And the interpolation of chants and motets into the larger works brings the listener closer to what a Roman churchgoer would have experienced. The end result is a performance of, especially, Palestrina's Missa Papæ Marcelli that's nothing short of revelatory: New York Polyphony's reading stands in the highest possible contrast to the usual choral readings of this work, whose density turns it into a big wash of sound when it is sung by a large group. Highly recommended.

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