Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Tenebrae Responses for Good Friday (Responsoria, 1611)
Taverner Choir/Andrew Parrott
SONY SK 62977 [67.18]

My review of this disc is taken from an advance copy without benefit of the notes or texts. For this reason I cannot comment on the actual notes etc supplied by Sony with the product sold in the shops. I should also declare that I review this disc as a complete innocent in this genre with little knowledge. I did however know that Peter Warlock and Cecil Gray (in their 1926 book) had a high regard for the man whose claim to infamy I will not bore you with - so often has the story been told and so disconnected is that story with this splendid music.(but see)

The music beams with many calculated and variegated timbres. Light and strange dissonances abound. Sample the revelatory Omnes Amici Mei for a complexity and passion not at all Tallis-like. The very best tracks ripple with great sensuality, with melismatic shakes and trills. This music is the aural equivalent of aromatic coffee - rich in tones and overtones. Some tracks, it has to be said, are rather chaste and a little unengaging. These monastic and cloistered sequences (as in Antiphon track 8) set the other tracks in adventurously dissonant contrast. But return to the light with the intertwining vocal lines of passion-invoking heat as in the lunar-blooming tone of the altos in Tenebrae Factae Sunt. The wondering wander of Tradiderunt Me (17) is sheerly lovely but what a bump to encounter the sort of boringly functional music you find in track 18. The best of this music reminded me of the erotic madrigals of Monteverdi - best not to underestimate such music. It has a modern sensuality you may not automatically associate with the works of this era.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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