Author Topic: Early English Instrumental Music  (Read 28583 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #180 on: May 06, 2019, 09:47:12 PM »


It’s very good to have all these five part fantasias collected together like this, Spirit of Gambo are clearly committed to Jenkins like no other consort. It has only just been released and so I’ve just begun to listen. But my initial reaction is slightly mitigated by a nagging doubt - that their interpretations are too fluid and too lyrical. In short, that the performances are under-articulated. The result may sometimes come close to the thing which must be avoided in polyphonic music like this at all costs - an interwoven hotchpotch.

This seems rather different from what they did on their recording of four part fantasias, and of course the sound is different too, thicker in the five part music of course, but also I’d say less strongly underpinned by the bass viol. This could be partly due to the engineering - there seems to me to be more air between the musicians in the four part recording



Of course the music is different. Four the five part music we read

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In view of the range of expression and colour in these fantasias, it is extraor- dinary that only three tonics (G, D and C) are used.

while for the four part music we read

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What is most striking about these fantasias is the succession of keys, not only from one piece to another, but within individual pieces. Unlike in earlier centuries, distant tonalities are not considered as foreign regions, but as territories that one may cross before returning safely home.

a comment which is followed up by a tantalising (for me) remark on enharmonics

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Enharmonic modulations – frequent in the music of the romantic period – give his music a timeless aspect. There appears to be little change going on, and yet the harmony is altering radically. In the harmonic complexity of his writing, Jenkins to a large extent prepared the way for his successor Henry Purcell.

Anyway it’s probably not right to post these very preliminary reactions because I’m almost bound to change my mind. But I thought I’d state them in case anyone else felt like listening to see if they feel the same way  p
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 10:07:32 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #181 on: May 07, 2019, 06:39:42 AM »


This disc is triply valuable. First it is as far as I know the only commercial recording with substantial amounts of music played at Uttum. Second it is the only organ recording as far as I know with substantial amounts of music by Thomas Tomkins. Third it benefits from Bernard Klapprott's seriousness and penchant for contrapuntal music.

Klapprott has chosen the pieces carefully, the criterion I most appreciate is that the music here seems to have a singing quality, something which befits the Uttum organ very well. The tangy harmonies of some of the pieces, for example the In Nomine 8 and the piece No.68 (without title), is no doubt partly due to the way the Uttum instrument is tuned.

Klapprott's tendency for sobriety does not prevent him from finding nobility and indeed extroversion when he feels fit, for example in the wonderful Clarifica Me.

One piece I find particularly moving is the "Short verse for Edward Thornburgh."  Thornburgh was executed for his religious beliefs and Tomkins created a musical memorial for him in the form of a pavan. Klapprott follows this with a pair of  pieces  on a related theme, which make for an effective coda. The three are followed by the well known offertory, and that programming seems to work really well to me.

The booklet essay is exemplary, with scholarly and accessible discussions of the music, the Uttum organ and the nature of the English organ in Tomkins's time.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 07:11:50 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #182 on: May 13, 2019, 11:29:43 AM »


The first thing to say here is not about viol, but rather about voice. You can't generalise about voice, less so than other instruments, what one person likes another loathes. Emma Kirkby here  is very much what I'm looking for from a singer. Such a shame she doesn't feature more on the CD.

Pandolfo plays more conventionally here than in later recordings, and he makes the viol sing rather than mumble. 

The essential thing about Tobias Hume's music IMO is that it sounds unfathomable, ambiguous, obscure. Pandolfo and his mates understand this well. And they do it in a way which is sometimes exuberant and sometimes melancholy and always engaged sounding and imaginative.

Sound quality is excellent.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #183 on: May 13, 2019, 11:39:43 AM »


The first thing to say here is not about viol, but rather about voice. You can't generalise about voice, less so than other instruments, what one person likes another loathes. Emma Kirkby here  is very much what I'm looking for from a singer. Such a shame she doesn't feature more on the CD.

Pandolfo plays more conventionally here than in later recordings, and he makes the viol sing rather than mumble. 

The essential thing about Tobias Hume's music IMO is that it sounds unfathomable, ambiguous, obscure. Pandolfo and his mates understand this well. And they do it in a way which is sometimes exuberant and sometimes melancholy and always engaged sounding and imaginative.

Sound quality is excellent.

Have you heard this Emma Kirkby recording from 2017?



I am unsure if it is a compilation from older recordings or new performances, but it is a nice selection of songs with viols.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #184 on: May 14, 2019, 04:27:36 AM »
Have you heard this Emma Kirkby recording from 2017?



I am unsure if it is a compilation from older recordings or new performances, but it is a nice selection of songs with viols.

No I haven't but I will do. I've started to listen to this, unknown musicians but committed playing and not at all uninteresting.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #185 on: May 17, 2019, 12:07:31 PM »


This is special. I mean something like, my life is richer for knowing it, significantly so. It's just so full of personality: First we have the unique way the Rose Consort play together, create harmonies together, and their beguiling introverted cantabile. Next, this is the most astonishing aspect of the recording really, the extraordinary vowels of Red Byrd -- they've found a way of singing Renaissance music which doesn't make it sound like Haendel!  I hope that's accessible to people whose native language isn't British English, because I can assure you that the way, for example, he sings "and verily"in O Lord, Let me know mine end, an accent like I remember hearing in Leicester, just transforms the music. Timothy Roberts is a keyboard player who grows in my estimation each time I hear him, and exactly the same could be said of Thomas Tomkins's music. Very well engineered sound.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 12:13:23 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #186 on: May 19, 2019, 04:13:58 AM »


This recording exemplifies a familiar phenomenon.

It is well made; nicely packaged; the  sound is more than fine; the  programme is good, with lots of variety, professionally performed and in fact performed with gusto,;  the singers are all outstanding, some of them, like Charles Daniels and Emma Kirkby, are great favourites of mine; Fretwork is never less than professional.

If it were a concert you wouldn’t be sorry to have made the effort to go, and you’d give them a round of applause at the end.

What’s not to like?

I’ll tell you what’s not to like. It lacks fantasy, reverie. I only know this because Rose Consort and Red Byrd have it in spades in their Tomkins CD, so they’ve rather raised the bar.

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