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CD: Crotchet AmazonUK


A Noble Noyse of Musicke
John BULL (c.1562-1628)
In Nomine IV [4:39]
Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585)
Iam lucis orto sidere [1:31]
John REDFORD (c.1486-1547)
O lux beata Trinitas [1:36]
Richard ALLISON (c.1560-c.1610)
Quadran Pavan [5:26]
anon (England, 16th C)
In Paradise [2:16]
anon (England, 16th C)
I love unloved [5:19]
WILLIAM Mure of Rowallan (1594-1657)
Kathrein Bairdie [1:24]
Gypsies Lilt [2:32]
Ouer the Dek Davie [1:38]
Corn Gaird(es) [0:56]
William BYRD (1543-1623)
Fantasia I a 6 [5:48]
Anthony HOLBORNE (c.1545-1602)
Galliard The Teares of the Muses [1:30]
William BYRD
Ave verum corpus [2:59]
John COPRARIO (c.1570-1626)
Fortune and glory [3:52]
John DANYEL (1564-c.1626)
Can doleful notes? [2:08]
Time, cruel time [1:53]
Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620)
Author of light [2:53]
When shall my sorrowful sighing slack [2:43]
Edward COLLARD (fl. 1598)
Go from my window [3:45]
English toy [1:19]
Irish toy [1:49]
anon (England, 16th C)
Farewell the Bliss [3:58]
Christopher Field (alto); Paul Leenhouts (recorder); Israel Golani (lute); Johan Hofmann (harpsichord); Matthias Havinga (organ)
The Royal Wind Music (Stephanie Brandt; Erik Bosgraaf; Lena Chatzigrigoriou; Jon Daniels; Arwieke Glas; Hester Groenleer; Miako Klein; Matthijs Lunenburg; María Martínez Ayerza; Amy Power; Monika Ruusmaa; Ann-Katrin Seifert (renaissance recorders))
rec. June 2004, Reformed Church of Fransum, Netherlands. the Reformed Church of Uttum, Germany. DDD
LINDORO MPC-0118 [63:15]
Experience Classicsonline

I must admit that I don't particularly like discs of this type. It contains no less than 22 pieces which are very different in character and scoring. That guarantees great variety which in itself is not a bad thing. But when most pieces are very short the programme threatens to lack coherence and become a short-winded. And that is the problem here, I feel.
The disc is different from what I had expected. The cover gives only the name of The Royal Wind Music and therefore I was looking forward to listening to this ensemble. I heard the ensemble for the first time during the Early Music Festival in Utrecht in 2007, and I was very impressed. It consists of 12 recorder players which perform music written between 1500 and 1640. Everyone who is not a stranger in the world of early music knows how hard it is to create a well-blended sound with a consort of recorders and at the same time to keep the ensemble in tune. On this evidence they have no problems in this regard. In addition their performances are splendid.
Unfortunately the ensemble plays in only six of the 22 items. The other pieces involve guests, who play on organ, harpsichord - from what I hear it is not a virginal contrary to the booklet’s account of things - lute and solo recorder. In addition there are some contributions from the alto Christopher Field.
What is in this disc’s favour is the choice of repertoire: the most popular pieces have been avoided, and instead we get a series of pieces which have probably never been recorded before. These include the lute pieces by William Mure of Rowallan. Also composers such as Richard Allison and Edward Collard are not frequently recorded. John Coprario, John Danyel and Thomas Campion are a little better-known and their inclusion is something to cherish. Some of the music is regularly performed, like the keyboard works by Bull and Tallis. William Byrd's motet 'Ave verum corpus' may belong to his most popular sacred works but here it is performed in an intabulation at the organ.
Other pieces appear in arrangement. John Danyel's song 'Time, cruel time' is played on the recorder and the lute, and his song 'Can doleful notes?', from a collection for lute, viol and voice, is performed here with the harpsichord accompanying the voice. The latter arrangement is one of the least satisfying items on this disc.
The consort music is performed with recorders, a completely legitimate option, as a consort of recorders was quite common in England in the early 17th century. But I am not sure that it is justified to play these pieces with more than one instrument per part. In the songs for voice and consort - Coprario's 'Fortune and glory' and the last item, the anonymous 'Farewell the bliss' - the balance between the voice and the recorder consort is less than ideal.
I don't want to give the impression that this is a bad disc. That is certainly not the case, as the performances are generally rather good. But there are some things which make this disc less satisfying than it could have been. In addition to the things I have already mentioned I refer to the recording technique. Especially when listening through headphones the amount of background noise is sometimes irritating. That is particularly the case in some of the lute pieces. When the sound of the lute is very soft or there is a short pause the noise almost disappears only to return when the lute plays again. As a result there is a constant ebb and flow in the noise (in 'Gypsies Lilt', track 8). The reverberation at the end of every piece is quickly cut off which produces a very unnatural effect.
I don't understand why only the first two lines of 'Can doleful notes?' by Danyel are sung, whereas the booklet gives eight. And why are the texts pronounced in modern English? Aren't "love" and "move" (Coprario, 'Fortune and glory') supposed to rhyme?
In short, I am in two minds about this disc. The pros are the choice of lesser-known or even unknown pieces and the general level of the performances. The cons are the sometimes unsatisfying arrangements, the lack of coherence and the less than ideal recording. It's up to you to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons.
Johan van Veen


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