'The Teares of the Muses'
Pavans, Galliards & Almaines
Hesperion XXI Jordi Savall.
Alia Vox AV9813 66m
This release is titled as Elizebathan Consort Music, Vol II and we have already
savoured the flavours of that previously immensely successful release which
reads like a roll-call from the 'greats' of English 16th century music. This
time Jordi Savall and his splendid Hesperion XXI have devoted a whole CD
to the talents of Anthony Holborne, a rather obscure figure but one who evidently
was held in great esteem in those days.
The music is succinctly varied and makes interesting use of some very intriguing
string effects occasionally punctuated by soft percussion and organ. The
soft delicate sounds of Savall's viola da gamba ensemble is indeed soothing
especially in the reflective 'The teares of the Muses' and the suggestive
'Image of Melancholy'. Funeral music was also an Elizabethan speciality and
this is demonstrated in the evocative 'The Funerals', a mournful but stringent
piece of music strangely reminiscent of Purcell's ubiquitous 'Queen Mary'
The sumptuous sounds of the Galliards are also a distinctive feature of this
recording perfectly re-creating the effect of an Elizabethan courtroom. I
am also particularly fond of Rolf Lislevand's masterly lute playing, here
he is joined by the equally magnificent Xavier Diaz. Pedro Estevan's
knowledgeable percussion playing is also one to die for. Add all these master
instrumentalists to a splendid recording and the usual sumptuous Alia Vox
presentation and you definitely have one of the early music CD's of the year.