“Contrasts abound: Byrd’s florid three-section Tribue Domine is almost Marian in its vastness, while Tallis’s hymn setting O nata lux de lumine is brevity itself...The dozen singers perform expressively and blend beautifully throughout, while Skinner, who adopts a commonsense approach to pitch standards, injects passion into every note.”
Sunday Times, 30th January 2011 ****
“They use solo voices throughout, mixed voices with a fairly open sound that brings with it more vibrato than we are used to hearing in such music nowadays...That results in performances that are refreshingly free of self-indulgence. Some of the big Byrd pieces in particular are very good indeed.”
Gramophone Magazine, March 2011
“The prevailing mood is penitential, but the pieces are never dull; there's much delight to be had in listening to the way the individual voice parts weave in and out...Skinner gets his singers to bring [the false relations] out so that they send shivers down your spine...[He] shapes the music extremely well.”
Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****
“Homophonic passages impress with their splendour, enriched here by the chestnut hues of basses William Gaunt and Robert Macdonald. The clarity of line lays bare the ingenuity of counterpoint, no matter how thick the texture becomes - a formidable achievement in Byrd's 'double imitation' motets.”
BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ***
“This is the first time the Cantiones Sacrae has been recorded complete and 'in the original order intended by the composers themselves'...An auspicious beginning to a mighty undertaking.”
International Record Review, May 2011
"David Skinner and his Alamire vocal ensemble are building an impressive discography, and this new recording begins a new project—a 30-volume Library of English Music from the High Middle Ages to the Commonwealth. Here they present Tallis and Byrd’s Cantiones Sacrae “in its entirety” and “in the original order intended by the composers.” For these performances Skinner drew from an original copy of the 1575 set of “sacred songs”, plus reputable modern editions of the music. "
ClassicsToday.com, May 2011
"Despite the (very) high quality of other recordings of this music, this new release sweeps the board, if only because it offers the only current collection to bring all the music together. For all Tallis’s partial success and Byrd’s almost total success in writing for the new English liturgy, it is their Latin settings that show their absolute command of renaissance polyphony and nowhere more so than in this collection dedicated to Queen Elizabeth in 1575 - 17 pieces by each of these loyal recusants to mark the 17th anniversary of her reign."
MusicWeb International, March 2011
Recording of the Month on the Web - MusicWeb International, March 2011
Gramophone Magazine, Editor's Choice - March 2011