Stile Antico’s newest programme centres on Tallis’s magnificent 7-part ‘Christmas’ Mass, based on the festive plainchant Puer natus est, in a new edition prepared by Sally Dunkley. The mass is interspersed with seasonal Tudor music, including Byrd’s exquisite Propers for the fourth Sunday of Advent, responsories by Taverner and Sheppard, Robert White’s exuberant setting of the Magnificat, and Tallis’s own sublime Videte miraculum.
Stile Antico's 2015 release on Harmonia Mundi, A Wondrous Mystery, is a sublime collection of Renaissance choral music for Christmas, presented in a pleasant mix of familiar German carols and a mass, with tracks interspersed for the sake of variety. This makes sense in consideration of the group's broad audience, which may know such popular hymns as Michael Praetorius' Ein Kind geborn in Bethlehem and Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, or Johannes Eccard's Übers Gebirg Maria geht and Vom Himmel hoch, yet be somewhat at a loss with the motet and Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis by Jacobus Clemens non Papa, a composer beloved by early music specialists but not exactly a household name for lay listeners. However, the a cappella performances are consistently beautiful and soothing throughout, and the quietly joyous mood of the music fits the album's title perfectly. The 12-voice choir's blend is well-balanced and transparent, and the ambience of All Hallow's Church, Gospel Oak, London gives an ideal resonance for the group's small size and close miking.