Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Music for Voice & Viols
Russell Oberlin (countertenor)
In Nomine Players/Denis Stevens
LEMS 8041 [38 mins]
This disc can be purchased from the importer:
Silver Service CDs, 14 Balmoral Avenue, Shepshed, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 9PX
Tel +44(0) 1509 829301  Fax +44(0) 1509 829302

Originally recorded in 1958, this is quite a nostalgia trip. Denis Stevens and the In Nomine Players (Maxwell Ward, Michael Mitchell, Dennis Nesbitt & Francis Baines here) used to be featured regularly on the BBC's Third Programme and introduced many of us to this repertoire in those pioneering days. (I knew Desmond Dupré, and once took my son to visit him and experience singing Elizabethan songs with a proper lute accompaniment.)

Stevens is a noted academic and had edited for this recording the eight songs here, which are set in sequence with four of Byrd's pieces for viol consort. Of those songs, three are from Sonnets & Pastorals -La Virginella alone in Italian. There is a short version of the lullaby My sweet little darling, two Psalms with simple voice parts embedded in elaborately contrapuntal accompaniments, and an epitaph for a priest Why do I use my paper, ink and pen, And call my wits to counsel what to say?, a homily apt for our new era in which there is a danger of words vanishing into the Web.

Russell Oberlin was well known, alongside Alfred Deller; he might now be described as a haute-contre, a tenor with abnormally high tessitura. The voice is robust and all the music is given in a straightforward manner, with the cross rhythms, which are its distinctive feature, well pointed. The presentation (8 pages which fold out in line) is attractive and the succint commentaries are exactly what is needed. All words are supplied in clear print. Track durations are given, which may help broadcasters, but prospective purchasers ought not to have to add them up to discover, in this case, that the total is very short measure at 38 minutes. Inexpensive, I do not doubt, so this series will be well worth exploring.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index