Universal will celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Verve‘s Urban Hymns in September with a reissue campaign that includes a 5CD+DVD super deluxe edition and a massive 6LP vinyl box set. All formats feature a remastered version of the album (the work of Chris Potter and Metropolis’ Tony Cousins) and the super deluxe edition box set adds four further CDs offering B-sides, remixes, session tracks, BBC Sessions and two discs of unreleased live performance from the era, including the May 1998 hometown show in front of around 35,000 fans at Haigh Hall, Wigan.
White’s Lamentations are not as famous as Tallis’s, but their plangent harmonies and clashing lines have an equal intensity. This impressive debut disc by Gallicantus (an all-male group from the Tenebrae choir) includes White’s motets and hymns, emphasising his response to the texts and his eloquent way with the single Hebrew letters that begin each Lamentation. The vocal balance is slightly bass-heavy, but the sound is beautifully recorded.
Germany's Die Singphoniker, here a vocal sextet, were partly inspired by the King's Singers from Britain, and they have explored a similarly wide-ranging repertoire, from Renaissance a cappella vocal music to contemporary classical and pop. The King's Singers, however, have rarely released albums of truly unusual repertory, except in the contemporary field; this kind of small-group singing usually relies either on some audience familiarity with what's being sung, or on the composition of music expressly for this medium. In this case, Die Singphoniker tackles a rarely represented repertory and emerges with decent results. The vast choral output of Orlando di Lasso (aka, Orlande de Lassus) remains largely unexplored, and this little album gives a clue as to the interesting things to be found. Lasso's hymns were mostly composed around 1580, when the composer was employed as kapellmeister by Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria.