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Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625)
Hosanna to the Son of David [2:35]
O Lord, I lift my heart to thee [1:56]
O all true faithful hearts [4:08]
Deliver us, O Lord [3:04]
This is the record of John [4:26]
Lift up your heads [2:39]
Almighty and everlasting God [2:39]
See, see, the word is incarnate [6:21]
Praise the Lord, o my soul [2:25]
O clap your hands [4:58]
Glorious and powerful God [5:11]
O Lord, in thee is all my trust [6:43]
O Lord, how do my woes increase [1:09]
Out of the deep [5:26]
Behold, thou hast made my days [4:53]
Oh Lord, in thy wrath [2:58]
Blessed are all they that fear the Lord [5:03]
I am the resurrection [4:40]
Fretwork: (Richard Campbell (treble viol); William Hunt (treble viol); Julia Hodgson (tenor viol); Susanna Pell (tenor viol); Richard Boothby (bass viol); Philip Rushforth (organ) (9, 11, 17); Christopher Allsop (chamber organ) (2, 7, 13))
The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/Richard Marlow
rec. 3 January 1994, Chapel, Trinity College, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
CONIFER 75605 51231 2 [74:23]


As with all these Arkiv CDs you are getting a record company-authorised CDR at a favourable price, a reproduction of the original cover and back of booklet. The original liner-notes are not included. 

Orlando Gibbons was one of the last generation of English madrigalists and writers of anthems and choral polyphony, although most of his music was unpublished at his death. Here is a CD of 18 anthems. Gibbons wrote a total of forty such anthems – some strictly polyphonic; others simpler ‘verse anthems’. 

These are settings of various texts associated with the Anglican rite  to which Gibbons subscribed and in which milieu he made his name: he presided over the funeral of James I, for example, in 1625. It seems likely that the narrative for Palm Sunday from Mathew Chapter 21, Hosanna to the son of David, itself, was composed for a royal occasion - King James I saw his position as head of the English and Scottish church as analogous to Christ’s. This is the record of John tells the story of John the Baptist and Almighty and Everlasting God is a short polyphonic anthem with the text from Advent.

There is a pleasing mixture of moods on this CD. From the quiet and introspective, to more outgoing works like Praise the Lord, o my soul and O clap your hands. Of great beauty with its sinuous plangent melody is Behold, thou hast made. Such contrasts go some way towards revealing the breadth of Gibbons’ accomplishment. 

Those unfamiliar with this repertoire may have misgivings that it’s bland and unvaried music. That its devotional burden overpowers inventiveness and/or that the forces for which it was written must – in the twenty-first century - articulate an odd blend of formal, remote words with ‘thin’ music. Never. The Trinity College Choir – sensuously yet unceremoniously recorded – will convince you of the opposite. Works like Oh Lord, in thy wrath and Blessed are all they that fear are focused, economical, rich, lucid and entirely accessible to the modern ear. Far from ‘churchy’, they are intricate and subtle works of music in their own right. Once you get used to the idiom, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the lines and the poetry of the harmonies and resultant colour.

The singing of the Trinity College choir is delicate, resonant and meticulously focused on bringing these qualities out. Fretwork’s role is a relatively minor one. But when they do join with the choir, their playing is fresh and supportive; it enhances this wonderful, touching and poignant music. 

Mark Sealey 



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