Taverner: Sacred Choral Music

John Taverner brought the English florid style to its culmination; his music is quite unlike anything written by his continental contemporaries. In his debut recording with the critically acclaimed Edinburgh choir, Duncan Ferguson presents this music with forces akin to those of the sixteenth century – a small number of children and a larger number of men. The singers respond with an emotional authencity born of the daily round of liturgical performance.

"The second Agnus Dei is particularly memorable: these young singers' pleasure in their music-making is simply infectious."

"The music marks the apogee of pre-Reformation florid polyphony and is endlessly fascinating, the compositional means clearly audible and sublimely transcended."

"The performances by the mixed choir of Edinburgh Cathedral are caught in a wonderfully vivid, close acoustic, so the beautifully elaborate polyphony seems all-embracing."

"Treble voices surf high on huge waves of polyphony in the extraordinary Missa Corona Spinea, while smaller items display the same freshness, purity and liturgical glow. Duncan Ferguson, the Master of Music, is plainly a wizard"

"Their new disc of Taverner’s Sacred Choral music is a fine achievement, and the sound of those voices shimmering in the Cathedral acoustic in such a fine recording, stayed with me for ages after I had first listened to it. If you care for Tudor polyphony, try to hear it.”

"the real plaudits go to the youngest performers of all. The child choristers of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh with their adult lower voices supporting them, sing music by Taverner (the elder) with the sort of rapture and excitement that takes the breath away. This truly is a very special recording."

"This is very much a young persons’ performance with a real sense of ‘going for it’, and under the direction of their twenty-eight-year-old Master of Music, Duncan Ferguson, the choir’s singing is genuinely exciting without any appreciable loss of accuracy."


"I have a feeling that the new Delphian CD may well become my first choice for listening to Taverner."

"Ferguson has aimed to recreate the sound of an early 16th-century cathedral choir by using a small treble section (ten boys and girls) and a larger number of lower voices; the blend and balance are excellent, and the trebles are clear and in tune throughout, with only the odd hint of the young voices straining. The acoustic of St Mary’s gives a warm resonance to the full choir sound, without detracting from the clarity of the plainchant sections, and the whole performance is vibrant and never sluggish – very highly recommended."


Release Date: 11 January 2010
Catalogue No: DCD34023
Total playing time: 58:00

Recorded on 14-17 September 2009 in St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Producer & Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Adam Binks
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter

Design: John Christ
Booklet editor: John Fallas
Photography © Colin Dickson

Album Booklet

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