The Tallis Scholars could not have given the Brighton Early Music Festival a better kick-off.

Renowned for their purity of tone, the unity of their sound draws the listener right into the music – the aural equivalent of a precise spotlight.

Despite that precision, they also have a warmth which, aided by the resonance of the church, rendered this early 16th-century polyphony, a beguiling mix of the simple and complex, into something beautiful and entrancing.

It seemed liked France 1 England 0 at half time, with William Cornysh’s more elaborate Ave Maria somehow outdone by the smooth richness of Jean Mouton’s setting of the same text. And the final piece by John Browne seemed like an own goal, meandering and maintaining attention only with occasional unexpected harmonies.

In the second half France came back strongly with a sublime setting by Mouton of Salva Nos, but Cornysh immediately followed with the short but perfect secular carol Ah Robyn.

The final Magnificat, also Cornysh, from the Eton Choirbook, was, as the excellent programme notes said, “athletic”, a tour de force held together by alternating polyphony and plainchant.

By the end, it was a pleasing draw between these composers to Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France.