Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


Buy through MusicWeb for £13.40/14.10/14.65 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button

 

Elizabethan Christmas Anthems
Red Byrd; The Rose Consort of Viols
rec. Forde Abbey, November, 1989. DDD.
Booklet with notes but no texts.
AMON RA CD-SAR46 [59:23]

Experience Classicsonline

 



Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625) Verse Anthem: This is the Record of John [3:39]
William BYRD (1542-1623) Christe qui lux es (instrumental setting) [1:19]
Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1676) Verse Anthem: Sing Unto God [6:07]
Martin PEERSON (1580-1650) Upon my Lap [4:31]
William BYRD Fantasy 2 in 1 (à5) [5:52]
John AMNER (d.1641) Verse Anthem: O Ye Little Flock [5:45]
William BYRD Fantasy Browning [4:16]
Anthony HOLBORNE (d.1602) Consort Song: Sweet was the Song the Virgin Sung [2:09]
Pavan The Cradle; Galliard Lullabie [5:10]

William BYRD Consort Song Lullaby [5;19]
Orlando GIBBONS In Nomine [4:53]
Verse Anthem: See, see, the Word is Incarnate [5:41]

In the 17th century it was common for households with the requisite number of musicians and the finances to afford a consort of viols to entertain themselves with music for viols. These were supplemented by consort songs and verse anthems. It might seem strange to us, but it was perfectly common for domestic performances to mix sacred and secular music. These verse anthems were designed for small-scale use and though sacred were not originally intended to be liturgical. In fact, playing viols in a cold church is not ideal and when verse anthems did move into the church, they were often accompanied by organ.

This disc from Red Byrd and the Rose Consort of Viols intends to re-create the sort of domestic music-making that might have taken place in the early 17th century. It was recorded, in 1989, in the domestic situation of Forde Abbey in Dorset. The texts of the songs and anthems tell the Christmas story, and instrumental pieces have been interspersed amongst the vocal numbers.

A number of Red Byrd’s recordings from this period experiment with period pronunciation of the text. I had always understood that Elizabethan English would have been closest to the contemporary Ulster accent. On this disc the singer of Red Byrd adopts, with varying degrees of success, a rather West Country ‘mummerset’ accent, perhaps inspired by the location of the recording venue.

This is most pronounced in the opening item, This is the Record of John, where the tenor soloist adopts an alarmingly uncompromising accent. Though the singers are credited, no soloists are specified, so I can only assume that the tenor on this track is John Potter. His accent, combined with the rather flowing tempo, means that this interpretation is worlds away from the slow reverence of a church performance, and that is presumably what was intended. Whilst you may not always like the decisions taken by the performers, the results are nothing if not refreshing.

Tomkins’s Sing unto God, sets verses from Psalm 68 in quite a dramatic style. The solo bass part - presumably Richard Wistreich - is quite wide-ranging and challenges Wistreich at both ends of his range.

The texts used for verse anthems were many and varied. John Amner’s O Ye Little Flock turns to a paraphrase of St. Luke, which is set in such a way as to use different soloists to dramatise the story. It must be said that once beyond the first track, the accents become rather less uncompromising and rather more acceptable; though one or two of the singers have trouble remaining consistent. There are hints of standard received pronunciation breaking through - many listeners will find this a relief, I suspect.

John Bull’s lovely Starre Anthem leaves the Bible behind and sets a Collect, using a lovely variety of vocal textures to characterize the work. The final Verse anthem is Gibbons’ See, see, the Word is Incarnate, which sets a religious poem. Gibbons carefully increases the intensity verse by verse until the glorious final chorus ‘where all the choir of heaven all jointly sing’.

Amongst these verse anthems are distributed a number of lovely consort songs such as the anonymous Sweet was the song the virgin sung and Byrd’s Lullaby. Their texts reflect the general theme of the disc. The instrumental numbers are less directly relevant, but provide a lovely contrast to the vocal items especially when given in lively and appealing performances as here.

There are no texts provided, just an illuminating article by two members of the Rose Consort of Viols. In fact the diction is so good that you hardly need to consult a printed text.

In many ways this disc rather shows its age, especially with the attempts at period accent in the sung items. But the musicianship and scholarship are of such a high order and the performances so vivid and infectious that it would still make a charming Christmas present.


Robert Hugill

see also reviews by Brian Wilson and Johan van Veen


 

 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.