The Sixteen, founded in 1977 by Harry Christophers, is one of the world's outstanding vocal ensembles. The group of mixed voices is notable for the sweetness of its choral blend, its vocal discipline, and its mastery of a broad repertoire spanning the history of Western music, but with special emphasis on the Baroque and modern eras. This CD of short works related to Marian devotion ranges from plainsong to the contemporary, but about half are Romantic or post-Romantic works, many fairly obscure, by major composers, and there are some real gems here. The combination of dulcet consonances and biting dissonances makes Grieg's a cappella Ave maris stella especially striking. Mendelssohn's Ave Maria, for tenor solo, double chorus, and organ is almost Schubertian in its directness and transparency. DuruflŽ wrote his Tota pulchra es, Maria, for women's voices, in 1960, based on plainsong, but its idiom is thoroughly post-Romantic and thoroughly French. The most recent piece, Margaret Rizza's Ave generosa uses a text by Hildegard von Bingen. Its juxtaposition of plainsong style in the solos with ensemble and choral sections reminiscent of Arvo PŠrt is graceful and wonderfully appealing. Huy Williams provides a supportive organ accompaniment in the pieces that aren't a cappella. Decca's sound is warm and immediate. The Sixteen's eclectic collection of contemplative music is attractive and satisfying and should appeal to fans of choral singing.