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Christopher TYE (ca. 1505-ca. 1573)
Consort Music - In Nomine
The Spirit Of Gambo (Freek Borstlap (treble viol); Liam Fennelly (treble viol, tenor viol); Gesina Liedmeier (tenor viol); Ivanka Neeleman (tenor viol, bass viol); Thomas Baeté (bass viol, plainchant); Claron McFadden (soprano*))
rec. 2014, Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, the Netherlands
MUSICA FICTA MF8022 [68:05]

Little is known about the details of Christopher Tye’s life. He was a 16th century English composer and organist who was highly regarded in his own lifetime, earning a degree as a Doctor of Music from Cambridge university, and being one of the earliest of composers to write music for viol consort. Tye became one of the most important names of his time in this regard and one of the founders of what we know today as chamber music.

The “soft and clear sonorities” of the viol consort cast quite a spell in music which is comparable in some ways to polyphonic vocal writing of this period. Scrunchy dissonances arise from melodic lines resolving in different directions, modality and tonality creating delicious stresses which you will have heard in music from the likes of Thomas Tallis. Of Tye’s surviving instrumental compositions 21 are In Nomine settings, mostly in 5 parts. This is a tradition which took the Gregorian melody In Nomine as a cantus firmus or basic line on which a musical piece would be built. If you start with track 15 of this disc you can hear Claron McFadden’s voice taking the In Nomine part, the viols weaving Tye’s inventive counterpoint around its elegantly simple lines.

Each of these pieces is a musical jewel in its own right. There is a certain amount of contrast in animated pieces such as the In Nomine: Saye so and Rubum quen and the programme has been well chosen, with the masterpiece Sit Fast saved towards the end. With such a homogenous sound this is however a disc which you may prefer to dip into rather than play from end to end – certainly there would have been no 16th century concert presenting such a quantity of music in one sitting, so one can be excused for taking a break.

In existence since around 1985, The Spirit of Gambo is establishing an ever increasingly strong reputation with music of this kind, with their recent CD of John Jenkins’ music admired by Jonathan Woolf (see review). Renewed interest in the viola da gamba seems to be in the air, with interest in the Manchester and Berlin gamba books pointing people in this direction and inviting further exploration. There are a few other viol ensembles around, such as Phantasm and Parthenia, but Freek Bortlap’s players can stand equal to any, and beautiful recordings such as this can do The Spirit of Gambo no harm whatsoever.

Dominy Clements

Track listing
Christus resurgens [3:15]
In nomine: Rachell’s Weepinge [2:50]
In nomine: Farewell My Good 1. for Ever [1:15]
In nomine: Free from All [2:30]
In nomine: Re la re [1:14]
O lux beata Trinitas [2:52]
In nomine: Round [2:11]
In nomine: Hold Fast [1:10]
In nomine: My Deathe Bedde [2:41]
In nomine: Follow Me [1:33]
In nomine: Surrexit non est hic [2:32]
In nomine: Crye [1:59]
Amavit eum Dominus [3:16]
In Pace in idipsum [4:39]*
In nomine a 6 [2:32]*
In nomine a 4 [2:21]
In nomine: Seldom sene [2:09]
In nomine: Weepe No Moore Rachell [2:18]
In nomine: Reporte [1:27]
In nomine: Saye So [1:13]
Rubum quem [1:12]
In nomine [2:43]
In nomine: I Come [2:05]
Lawdes Deo [2:13]
In nomine: Blamles [2:40]
In nomine: Trust [1:51]
Sit Fast (Prima pars) [3:27]
Sit Fast (Secunda pars) [3:15]
In nomine: Beleve Me [2:31]


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