> Thomas TOMKINS METCD1049 [KM]: Classical Reviews- April 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Thomas TOMKINS (1572 - 1656)
1. Barafostus' dream
2. Pavan of three parts
3. GaIliard of three parts
4. Miserere
5. A sad pavan for these, distracted times
6. Worcester brawls (Worster Braules)
7. What if a day
8. Fancy for two to play
9. Fancy
10. Pavan
11. The Lady Folliott's galliard
12. Fancy
13. Toy made at Poole Court
14. Pavan Earl Strafford
15. Galliard Earl Strafford
16. Fortune my Foe
17. Ground
18. In Nomine
19. Ground

Carole Cerasi (harpsichord)
Rec: December 2000, East Woodhay.


Experience Classicsonline

Harpsichordist Carole Cerasi presents a selection of keyboard music by Thomas Tomkins, one of the most important English composers of the 17th century. While his music clearly resembles that of his mentor William Byrd, Tomkins lived exceptionally long - he died at 94, almost Methuselan for that time - and his music shows a variety of influences. From lively, energetic works to more subtle melodic pieces, Tomkinsí keyboard music covers the full range of styles from the 16th and 17th centuries.

This disc starts out with a very rapid, virtuosic work, not unlike some of Byrdís keyboard music. While there is a certain amount of energy in this piece, its musicality is almost lost in the rush. Carole Cerasi certainly has the talent to negotiate this rapid music, but the result is not very convincing. < Sample 1>

Yet Cerasi seems to be at her best with the slower, more subtle pieces, such as the Pavan of three parts, a simple, attractive, melodic work, or the melancholic A sad pavan for these distracted times, which recalls some of the sadder pieces by John Dowland. This is a beautiful, moving work, and Cerasi gives it all the emotion it deserves. <Sample 2>

Cerasiís shows a fine talent for ornamentation in some pieces. What if a day is a beautiful, yet simple work, a series of variations which comes to life with these subtle ornaments. Cerasi embellishes this work with fine arabesques, yet manages to not go too far. <Sample 3>

This recording, played on both harpsichord and virginal, gives a fine overview of Tomkinís varied keyboard music. Cerasi is an excellent performer, and, with the exception of some of the faster pieces where she gets carried away by the tempo, her interpretations are first-rate.

Kirk McElhearn


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