In choral music these days, names and numbers seem to go together: Voces8, the Gesualdo Six and, of course, Apollo5. (Surely, it’s only a matter of time before some wag forms the Tallis40.) Regardless of what’s in a name, at least Apollo5 was able to celebrate a decade of singing together by recording a disc during the “long, quiet months” of 2020. Designed to explore the “joy and despair of human love,” this program spans 500 years of a cappella choral music and attests to the amazing versatility of this quintet.
Guerrero’s Veni Domine sets a mood of longing for better times, as does Byrd’s mournful Civitas Sancti Tui . The clarity which the singers bring to these early pieces is matched by the warmth they exhibit in the closer harmony of works by Poulenc, Debussy and Finzi.
Excellent as these accounts are, it is probably in the contemporary sphere that Apollo5 shines brightest. Following on from Tallis’s famous third mode melody,