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Delight in Musicke
Klaartje van Veldhoven (soprano)
Seldom Sene Recorder Quintet
rec. 2017, Schuikerk De Hoop, Diemen, The Netherlands

There are countless anthologies of English music from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods so one must always ask ‘why should I buy this one’ and ‘what is worthy or different’ or ‘especially interesting’ about this recording.

All of the twenty-one pieces here involve recorders in various shapes and sizes, often in arrangements where necessary, made by Maria Martinez Ayerza and in the case of the diminutions in two of Dowland’s pieces by Hester Groenleer. They are both members of the group as listed in the booklet alongside and also, I really approve of this, the eight instrument makers whose recorders are represented on the disc with their pitch details given and on which track each is utilized.

The five players and solo soprano are glamorously pictured on the booklet cover holding their instruments including, it seems to me, the contra-bass, the sub-contra bass. The recorder players are joined for ten pieces by the pure and ringing soprano of Klaartje van Veldhoven. She also adds, very helpfully, the In Nomine the plainchant line in Purcell’s six-part piece.

But so far you might think that nothing really special strikes you. But if I add that although Dowland, Byrd and Purcell are heard there are also less familiar composers with pieces by Nathanial Patrick often associated with the Boy Actor/Players of the Chapel Royal, his songs may well come from now forgotten dramas. Then there is the rather mysterious John Baldwine, probably a lay-clerk at St. George’s Windsor and the less known madrigalist John Bennet famous for his setting of ‘Weep oh mine eyes’ and here is represented by his lovely ‘Venus’ Birds’. There is also Edward Gibbons, an elder brother of Orlando and this seems to be his only surviving work. His lovely little piece ‘What strikes the clock’ is quite ingeniously constructed but I will for now keep that as secret.

But even the great Byrd and Dowland are represented by lesser-known pieces. Two by Byrd are from his little performed ‘Psalms, Songs and Sonnets’ of 1611 and I shame at mine unworthiness’ by Dowland is from his Tears and Lamentations of a Sorrowful Soul of 1614. All rather sober in their Protestantism.

The group’s name is taken from Christopher Tye’s consort setting of an In Nomine subtitled ‘Seldom sene’ which receives two renditions, the one at the end of the CD being an octave higher on a different set of recorders including the remarkable sopranino.

So over all this has proved to be a very pleasing disc to listen to and to review. There is a very good essay by Maria Martinez Ayerza and the texts are included all also translated into German and there are artist’s photos. The booklet details are laudably thorough with manuscript and publication sources supplied and the recording is close but not airless. But I’m just sorry that at less than an hour’s worth of music I feel a little short changed.

Gary Higginson

John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Lachrimae antiquae [5.13]
Sir John Souch his Galliard [1.11]
M. George Whitehead his Galliard [1.26]
I shame at mine unworthiness [2.31]
William BYRD (1543-1623)
Ah Silly Soul [2.50]
Browning [4.00]
If women could be faire [3.02]
In Nomine of five parts (No. 5) [2.32]
Edward GIBBONS (c.1568-1650)
What strikes the clocke ? [1.13]
John BALDWINE (c.1560-1615)
Cockoow as I me walked [2.03]
Christopher TYE (1505-1573)
In Nomine :Seldom sene [3.43]
Nathaniel PATRICK (c.1569-1595)
Send forth thy sigh [3.29]
Climb not so high [2.46]
ANON: Sweet was the song the virgin sang [2.42]
Farewell the bliss [3.38]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Fantazia 5 parts upon one note [3.08]
In Nomine of 6 parts [2.18]
John BENNET (fl.c1599-1614)
Venus’ Birds [2.16]
Richard NICHOLSON (1563-1639)
Cuckoo [1.33]
Thomas WEELKES (c.1574-1623)
The Nightingale, the organ of delight [1.22]



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