MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
56,451 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

Jonny-Bradley-handmade-knives
Johnny Bradley
Handmade Kitchen Knives

 


 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


Support us financially by purchasing from

William BYRD (c.1540-1623)
John BULL (c.1562-1628)
The Visionaries of Piano Music
Kit Armstrong (piano)
rec. August 2020, Meistersaal, Berlin
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0583 [70:56 + 64:12]

As background and context to this recording, pianist Kit Armstrong has provided his own liner notes. He’s chosen two contrasting figures from England’s Golden Age, William Byrd and John Bull, both composers he discovered as a child, and both he has revisited and included in his recitals. Both add up to a satisfying programme of contrasts - Byrd “of himself naturally disposed to gravity and piety”, and Bull “full of fire, anger, pride and sensuality”. In addition to discussing their contribution to keyboard music, he makes a sound case for his performing this repertoire on a modern piano.  A fascinating and scholarly booklet note, I concluded that Armstrong’s fluent and eloquent writing is as impressive as his pianism.

This is Armstrong’s debut album on the prestigious German yellow label; he’s previously recorded for Sony. Lauded as a child prodigy, he was a protégé of Alfred Brendel, who described him as “the greatest talent he has ever encountered”- high praise indeed. This is my first encounter with his playing, and what drew me to this 2 CD set was his choice of repertoire, English Renaissance keyboard music as opposed to another tread down the weary well-worn road of old tired war-horses.

Byrd and Bull were both Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal in the Golden Age of Elizabeth I and James I. Their contribution added greatly to the keyboard repertoire, but their styles were very different, and Armstrong aims to exploit this contrast. Byrd is generally more sober and refined, Bull offers more wild virtuosity.

There’s a buoyant quality in the more high-spirited pieces, which carries you along. Byrd’s Sellinger’s Round is one good example. The chiseled lines of Bull’s Fantasia are crisply articulated, and the persistent undercurrents set against the swirling right hand filigree gives the piece forward momentum. His Les Buffons comes to life with fantasy and imagination. Both composers wrote variations on the popular Elizabethan ballad Walsingham, and I’m pleased Armstrong offers both versions. Byrd’s Ut, mi, re Fantasia demonstrates Armstrong’s ability to define the different strands of the piece. The more plangent side of Bull is revealed in the Melancholy Pavan, whilst the Fantastic Pavan gives Armstrong free rein for his imagination to take flight.

Armstrong explores the piano’s potential to the full in expressive, dynamic and colouristic terms, and confronts the interpretive challenges head on with intelligence and insight. Clarity and definition of lines are handled adeptly and ornaments blend in idiomatically. In short, he shows great commitment to this music. Beautifully recorded, this superb album will certainly be one I’ll return to often.
 
Stephen Greenbank

Previous reviews: David McDade ~ Dominy Clements


Contents
William BYRD (c.1540-1623)
Prelude [0:40]
Pavan Sir William Petre [4:42]
Galliard [2:33]
The Flute and the Drum [1:48]
The Woods So Wild [3:37]
The Maiden’s Song [5:32]
John Come Kiss Me Now [5:22]
John BULL (c.1562-1628)
Fantasia [3:58]
Fantastic Pavan [4:43]
Fantastic Galliard [1:37]
Canons 51, 48, 39,7,15,114 [3:40]
Prelude [1:02]
Carol “Laet ons met herten reijne” [2:04]
Les Buffons [3:20]
Walsingham [13:13]
William BYRD
Pavan The Earl of Salisbury [2:03]
Galliard [1:17]
Second Galliard Mris Marye Brownlo [3:36]
The Bells [6:08]
John BULL
Queen Elizabeth’s (Chromatic) Pavan [4:34]
My Grief [1:55]
William BYRD
O Mistress Mine [4:28]
The Second Ground [7:08]
John BULL
Prelude [1:44]
Melancholy Pavan [4:13]
William BYRD
The Earl of Oxford’s March [3:11]
Ut, re, mi, da, sol, la [6:31]
Ut, mi, re [4:54]
John BULL
Canons 68, 78, 79, 65,3,53 [3:28]
William BYRD
Walsingham [8:51]
Sellinger’s Round [4:19]
John BULL
Fantasia on a Fugue of Sweelinck [3:53]
Telluris Ingens conditor [5:02]



Advertising on
Musicweb


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

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

December
(short month)


Orphic Moments


Metamorphoses Books I & II

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


French Cello Concertos

 

October


Shostakovich