MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS


I heard a voice - The Music of the Golden Age
Thomas WEELKES (1576-1623)
Alleluia, I heard a voice [3:00]
When David heard [4:43]
Most mighty and all-knowing Lord [4:37]
Hosanna to the Son of David [2:03]
In Nomine a 4 [1:56]
Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625)
Hosanna to the Son of David [3:09]
O Lord, in they wrath [3:33]
This is the record of John [4:08]
O clap your hands [5:42]
In Nomine a 4 [2:51]
Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1656)
O praise the Lord [4:08]
When David heard [5:01]
Fantasy a 6 [4:32]
Rejoice, rejoice and singe [6:50]
O sing unto the Lord [3:38]
Fretwork; Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury
rec. Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, 21-24 April 2007
EMI CLASSICS 3944302 [59:56]


Experience Classicsonline


This CD presents the music of three composers, spanning roughly the same time period. The  “Golden Age” which brought us Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson was well under way, already turning into sunset hues. This more appropriately presents examples of “the glorious Indian summer of the Golden Age of English (and Welsh in Tompkins’s case) music”, as Jeremy Summerly writes in the liner-notes.

Right from the beginning, one is aware of stepping into a centuries-old tradition of music making.  The Chapel at King’s College has resonated with these anthems for almost four hundred years, and the sound of the sixteen men and boys who make up the current Choir under Stephen Cleobury is rich and full.  One of the aspects of this recording that makes it stand out from others is the choice to double many of the vocal lines which are usually sung a cappella with organ and viols.  Another feature is the well-chosen instrumental pieces for viols alone; these cleanse the palate, as it were, between each composer’s choral sound-world. 

The CD begins with Weelkes’s “Alleluia, I heard a voice”, which bursts forth in glorious polyphony, in waves of allelulias that seem to smash joyfully against St. John’s narrative. “When David heard” brings a tenebrous stillness, a darkness of chromatic chords and dissonances that reflect the prophet’s grief and distress at hearing of his son Absalon’s death, resolving with a beauty that is sad but almost wistful, “would God I had died for thee, o Absalon, my son!”  The alto David Allsopp gives an exemplary performance of consort song in “Most Mighty and All-Knowing Lord”. “Hosanna to the Son of David”, like his “Alleluia…” is another solid, almost rollicking anthem. Weelkes’s "In Nomine a 4” is a satisfying example of this wonderful instrumental genre that has its roots in choral plainchant. 

Orlando Gibbons was himself a chorister at King’s College. I can’t help but reflect that the walls of the Chapel have not only carried his music through the centuries but his own voice has reverberated in its vaults and spaces.  This section begins with his version of  “Hosanna to the Son of David”, also scored for six voices, but brighter and, to me, more reverent in mood than the one by Weelkes.  In sharp contrast is the repentant “O Lord, in thy wrath”, performed a cappella and so clearly that one hears every plaintive word, and one appreciates more acutely Gibbons’ ability to create the appropriate musical setting for the text.  “This is the record of John”, from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. It contains all the elements that make this CD special: perfect balance between the viols, soloist and choir, and text and music, all forming a cohesive and illuminating “reading”.  The final choral piece by Gibbons is the ebullient setting of Psalm 47, “O clap your hands”, where Mr. Cleobury and his singers convey with joy the celebratory nature of the text.  The Gibbons section also ends with "In Nomine a 4”. Again I find his style lighter and more refined than Weelkes’.  I compared this version played by Fretwork with the same piece played by the Rose Consort of Viols in Naxos 8.550603, “Orlando Gibbons: Consort and Keyboard Music, Songs and Anthems”. The Rose Consort take it much slower and the instruments seem to play independent of each other, never attaining the unity and balance achieved here by Fretwork. 

The last composer is Thomas Tomkins. “O praise the Lord”, a rhythmic and insistent work, has the choir creating a very exciting circular layering of sound, but, perhaps due more to the composer’s somewhat insistent rhythmic structure than the singing, the text becomes a bit hard to understand.  This steady pattern, however, is immediately contrasted by Tomkins’ version of  “When David heard”.  We hear a profound and sensitive account of a father’s grief, sung with intensity and pathos.  The “Fantasy a 6” is beautifully played by Fretwork, who also performed many of Tomkins’ pieces in their 2003 Harmonia Mundi CD “Above the Starrs” along with Emma Kirkby and others.  “Rejoice, rejoice and singe” and the last track, “O sing unto the Lord” are both solid examples of Tomkins’ satisfying polyphony, with some exciting dissonances and false trails in the latter. 

This is a wonderful CD for any fan of English music of the Tudor and Stuart period.  The program is well laid out, with different composers’ takes on the same text and parallel choral and instrumental selections.  The recording is impeccable and puts the listener right inside the Chapel of King’s College, but with the added and unusual pleasure of Fretwork in the house.  All the texts are included, and Jeremy Summerly’s notes are informative and concise.

Miguel Muelle



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
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.