John Sheppard, The Cardinal's Musick - Be Not Afraid

Saturday 1st February 1992
John Sheppard, The Cardinal's Musick - Be Not Afraid

STYLE: Classical
RATING 4 4 4 4
LABEL: Meridan CDE84220

Reviewed by Dave Massey

John Sheppard was a contemporary of Thomas Tallis - fifteen years younger (but dying well before Tallis) and as a composer was particularly daring in the freedom of his counterpoint - especially in the 'Be Not Afraid' mass - loosening the shackles of rules and regulations just enough to let his music breathe and to supply a few tantalizing dissonances to shock the 'powers that be'. The mass was written to celebrate the feast of St Stephen (26th December), one of the most popular early church martyrs. The Cardinal's Musick under the direction of Andrew Carwood provide a dry, scholarly rendition of the mass complete with plainsong and prayers that rarely rises from the musty shelves of research into the celebration of the church's first martyr after Christ who by all accounts was a pretty cool dude with a life, and, unfortunately, death worth talking about...

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