Agnus Dei
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Agnus Dei

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

There are certain texts which inspire composers more than others, but one in particular has provided us with sublime music ever since it appeared centuries ago - the Agnus Dei. This collection from The Sixteen celebrates some of the finest settings from the Renaissance through to the 20th century.

From Tallis to Scarlatti and Rubbra to Britten, the variety of settings and musical language featured here is quite astounding and you may even discover an Agnus Dei that you haven’t heard before! Of course no collection of this type would be complete without Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei - probably one of the most famous settings ever written, certainly in recent times, and which rarely leaves a dry eye.


Religion is at the heart of many an artists’ inspiration. Composers throughout the ages, such as Bach, Handel and many others, held deeply spiritual connections to their God and used that in the creation of their music. The Sixteen, with their steadfast director Harry Christophers, explores that connection through this deep dive into the history of the Agnus Dei.

Agnus Dei, or ‘Lamb of God’, refers to Jesus in John 1:29, when St John the Baptist says: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’. For centuries and in many Christian traditions, this has inspired composers to write some of the most sublime music. Pulled together in one album, with the soaring voices of this exceptional choir, you can immediately see why people have continuously performed these musical offerings. There are composers of all ilk on this album, from Monteverdi, Poulenc, Scarlatti, Lobo, Britten, Tye and of course, Barber’s tear- inducing setting. If you feel the need for something to ease a sore disposition, this album may go a little way to helping. A stunning album worthy of its place in The Sixteen’s award-winning catalogue.

Kate Rockstrom]( is a friend of Readings.

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