Around the time of this 2000 release, Telarc began repackaging quite a lot of their older material and reissuing it under a new name. In the case of O Magnum Mysterium, recorded by the late Robert Shaw (1916-1999) and his singers between 1989 and 1997, the first four items had never been released before. My only regret about this otherwise splendidly sung collection of items for a cappella voice is that it lasts a scant fifty-six minutes. I recall years ago Telarc promising never to produce a disc that didn't have at least an hour of music on it. Oh, well, what we do have is plenty good enough.
The dozen pieces on the program represent the spiritual side of a number of composers from various eras and various parts of the world. It begins with a few selections by Renaissance composers, Thomas Tallis's (1505-1585) "If You Love Me" and "A New Commandment" and Tomas Luis de Victoria's (1549-1611) "O Vos omnes" and the first of three settings for the title number "O Magnum Mysterium."
As always and as expected, the singing is immaculate, every syllable clearly articulated and cleanly rendered. Best of all, Telarc's sound is lucid without being bright or hard, rich without being soft or fuzzy, spacious without being overly reverberant or cavernous. This is a most enjoyable recording with much to recommend it, not least of all Shaw's eloquent direction of unaccompanied voices on a sometimes large scale.
To listen to a few brief excerpts from this album, click below: