Ten English composers set the Latin text of the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the mid-16th century, in the reigns both of the Catholic Queen Mary and the Protestant Elizabeth I. Precise details are hard to establish of when works were performed, as Andrew Carwood explains in an illuminating note to this disc, but there seems little doubt that Tallis, though a Catholic, wrote his masterpiece for Elizabeth. The repeated final lines, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn to the Lord your God”, unforgettable once heard, have a dark resonance here, thanks to the sonorous basses of the Cardinall’s Musick (Robert Macdonald, Simon Whiteley). The rest of this fine recording draws on music from across Tallis’s career, with English and Latin settings (Sancte Deus, Te Deum, Come, Holy Ghost and more). The singers reach the highest standards.
Since he became the music director and conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas has largely focused his attention on presenting the symphonies of Gustav Mahler in splendid audiophile recordings, for which he has received critical and popular praise. So his first hybrid SACD of works by Claude Debussy comes as a surprise, not only because the sound world is quite different from Mahler's, but Tilson Thomas' interest in Debussy has seemed less obsessive over the years.