Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Tobias HUME (1569 ? - 1645)
Poeticall musicke

1. The Lady of Sussex delight
2. The King of Denmarks delight
3. The Duke of Lenox delight
4. French almaine
5. A merry conceit
6. What greater griefe (w/ soprano)
7. Sweet musicke
8. The Earle of Salisburies favoret
9. The Earle of Arundels favoret
10. Fain would I change that note
11. The Earle of Pembrookes galiard
12. The souldiers song
13. The Lady Canes delight
14. The pashion of musicke
15. The Duke of Holstones delight
16. Alas poore men
17. A masque
18. Tobacco
19. A jigg for ladies
Montserrat Figueras, soprano
Paul Hillier, bass
Hespèrion XX - Jordi Savall
Rec: February, March, May 1983
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 05472 77847 2 [58.19]

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Captain Tobias Hume was long an obscure, little-known English composer from the 17th century. Thanks to several recordings by Jordi Savall and others, his solo viol music has become one of the staples of the repertoire of this period. There are fewer recordings of his Poeticall Musicke, a book of songs and instrumental works, or his First Part of Ayres, a collection of songs. This disc is a selection from these two collections.


Humeís music bridges the gap between the Elizabethan and the later music of the 17th century, recalling both the earlier sound and hinting at what was to come. His instrumental works are firmly rooted in the solo or consort viol tradition, though some of them use larger ensembles or other instruments.

But the performances here are rough and almost grating at times. Montserrat Figueras sounds like an amateur, her voice imprecise and wavering. The balance between instruments in some of the instrumental works is disappointing, with instruments floating in and out of the soundscape. An example is The Lady canes delight, where the lute and recorder are almost impossible to hear, and the cornett and trombone overwhelm the other instruments. This piece plods on like a local brass band playing on VE Day, with little energy or emotion.

Paul Hillier, in his rare appearances, is quite good; his voice and timbre fit perfectly with Humeís music. Alas, poore men is perhaps the finest work on this disc. It features Hillier singing solo over Savallís haunting bass viol, sometimes bowed, sometimes plucked. While the balance between the two is not perfect, this long (more than nine minute) song is a plaintive lament that expresses all the despair with which Humeís music is often replete.

This is a disappointing recording of some fine music by Tobias Hume. The uneven performances and recording balances detract too much from the music for this to be worthwhile. Get a copy of Savallís groundbreaking recording of Humeís solo viol music, Musicall Humours, instead.


Kirk McElhearn


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