Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Reviews from other months
O SPRITE HEROIC: The life, love and death of Sir Philip Sidney explored The Trinity Consort recorded in St Paul's Church, Rusthall.BEULAH 1RF2 [52.18]



William BYRD (1543-1623)
O you that hear this voice
O dear life
John WARD (1571-1638)
O my thoughts surcease
William BYRD
Constant Penelope
Weeping full sore
Penelope that longed
John MUNDY (1555-1630)
Penelope that longed
Alfonso FERRABOSCO I (1543-1588)
Penelope was ever praised
Francis PILKINGTON (1570-1638)
Come, shepherd's weeds
Thomas VAUTOR (1590-1620)
Lock up, fair lids
And yet, O dream
How long shall I?
A satyr once did run away
My true love hath heart
Henry YOULL (15xx-16xx)
Only joy, now here you are
William BYRD (1543-1623)
Come to me grief for ever
O that most rare breast

'To enchant' according to my 'Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology' is to charm or to lay under a spell. I certainly found enchantment in listening to the sweet tones of the Trinity Consort and if you too are equally jaded by the threadbare tones of some choirs and the barnstorming vibrato of soloists making pitch as uncertain as the English clImate then buy this CD. True, there may not yet be the consistent professionalism of the King's Singers or the Anonymous 4; but there is a beguiling quality about the singing that has to be heard. If sopranos Rachel Bennett and Clare Wilkinson are the icing on the cake, the effect of the complete five--voiced ensemble is beautifully blended and well-tuned.

Some may think that madrigals are for performing rather than listening to. (Rather like Noel Coward's "TV is something to appear on, not to watch"). And long ago I remember sitting on the river bank at King's as the madrigalists went punting past with Wilbye's "Draw on sweet night" in full flow. A somewhat blasé organ scholar turned to me and said 'They all sound the same to me'.

Byrd, Ward, Vautor, Ferrabosco and others - they all show their individual accents in this well-chosen programme. The only common factor is librettist Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586). You can learn a lot about him in the copious scholarly sleeve notes by Gavin Alexander of Christ's College whose forthcoming book "Writing after Sidney" promises much.

Maybe, like me, you know "My true love hath my heart" (here in a setting by John Ward) and not too much else. I certainly was unaware for instance that 'Sidney writes the first feminine ending in English poetry'. He also strove for 'a harmonious marriage of poetry and music in song'. Good news for composers; and a nice change from such reluctant librettists as A.E. Housman!

I look forward to hearing this group again. Perhaps they might turn their well-tuned talents to close harmony.


Andrew Seivewright


Andrew Seivewright

Return to Index