Author Topic: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music  (Read 14061 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« on: October 27, 2015, 01:42:21 AM »
I'll start this off with a list of composers whose music has attracted my attention -- I may have forgotten some, or there may be important composers I haven't explored -- let me know if you spot any.


Richard Allison (1560–1570 – c. 1610)
John Blitheman (c. 1525 – 1591)
John Bull (1562–1628)
William Byrd (c. 1540–1623)
John Dowland (1563–1626)
Giles Farnaby (c. 1563–1640)
Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625)
Tobias Hume (1579? – 1645)
Thomas Morley (c. 1558–1602)
Peter Philips (c. 1560–1628)
John Redford (c. 1500 - 1547)
Thomas Simpson (1582–c. 1628)
Nicholas Strogers (b? -c. 1575)
Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 –  1585)
Thomas Tomkins (1572–1656)
Christopher Tye (c. 1505–before 1573)
John Blow (1649–1708)
John Jenkins (1592–1678)
William Corkine (fils) (fl.1610 - 1617)
William Lawes (1602–1645)
Matthew Locke (1621–1677)
Daniel Purcell (c. 1664 – 1717)[
Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
Christopher Simpson (c. 1602/1606–1669)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 10:20:50 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 10:15:59 PM »
Evidently the composer omitted from the list above is Anonymous.

In keyboard music Anonymous's music is preserved, as far as I can tell, in several manuscripts, the ones I've had the chance to explore on record so far are:

The Dublin Manuscript
Clement Matchett's Virginal Book
The Mulliner Book
The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book


Please let me know if you know about other early keyboard manuscripts with a discography. And I know nothing, or next to nothing, about collections of anonymous music for strings or other instruments.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 12:01:02 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 10:36:17 PM »
One of these manuscripts, the Matchett, is worth dealing with straight away because there's a recording which is special IMO. It was made by an amateur musician, Kenneth McAlpine, using a fine old English harpsichord (Kirkman 1776) I think you can hear McAlpine's love for and commitment to the music very clearly: it is a charismatic recording.





At least I think it's using the Kirkman 1776. McAlpine is a computer scientist who specialises in the digitisation of harpsichord sound, so maybe it's a hoax  ;)


« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 10:39:02 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 10:51:12 AM »
As far as I can see, the only person to have recorded substantial collections of the Mulliner manuscript is Joseph Payne (for Naxos) though of course some pieces in it are well known and often performed. In  Volume 2 he uses three outstanding American organs, and I think the CD is a pure delight musically. Even if you're not interested in the music, and you're not a Payne fan, this CD is worth hearing for the organs. (United Church, Stonington, Conn.; St. Paul's Church, Brookline, Mass.; Church of the Epiphany, Worcester.)



In it, the most substantial piece is very well appreciated, Bull's 9th In Nomine. There are performances from every man and his dog, including some power dogs like Hantaï and Asperen. Payne gives a bold performance because he takes it quite slowly, but to me it's a great success, revealing an inner life and nobility to the music, as well as a great sense of breaking free from the form at the end. I can't think of a better organ performance off hand, Rampe takes it too fast IMO and the result is glib. And organ is where it sounds best I think. Payne also recorded it on harpsichord for BIS.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 11:33:01 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 06:33:08 PM »
No input on manuscript collections, but you did miss Tallis.  He wrote about a CD's worth of keyboard music.  I have it in the Chappelle du Roi set on Brilliant, and a single CD which I can not find at the moment on Amazon, and for which I can't tell you the performer at the moment.  The music, or at least the performances, did not strike me as important. It includes both organ and harpsichord/virginal works.

Switching composers and performance styles, I do like this




Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 11:51:09 PM »
How could I have forgotten Tallis! The musician on your CD is Rachelle Taylor, she plays two organs (Wetheringsett and Wingfield) which were reconstructed by the Royal College of Organists from 16th century fragments. And two harpsichords, both 16th century English.

Some of those Tallis pieces are pretty impressive studies in rhythm, the ones called Felix Namque. Both around 10 minutes, longer in fact. We're talking a generation or two before Byrd. I like this very early instrumental music a lot - Christopher Tye is a great favourite of mine too.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 11:58:48 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2015, 08:36:06 AM »
As far as I know Timothy Roberts's recording of music by John Blow is the only one with substantial amounts of his instrumental music. Nevertheless Blow is well served on record because, not to mince words, this is a great recording.

  • The music by Blow, mostly made up of a sequence of voluntaries for organ, though little known, is of very high quality harmonically and contrapuntally. The harmonies are astonishingly bold even for baroque music. The high point is an extraordinary Double Voluntary in D minor, which is tagged No. 27 - suggesting that there's a lot more music by Blow to hear.
  • The commitment of the performers is evident throughout. I say performers (plural) because twice you hear a congregation singing hymns, accompanied. It works. And there are a couple of pieces for voice and organ, but I was not so interested by them.
  • The early 16th century organ at St Botolph's in The City is the best in London, tuned in a way which brings out the dissonances wonderfully, and very well restored. This is worth hearing just for the organ.



« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 11:45:45 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2015, 11:17:59 AM »
     


Thomas Tomkins Offertory is a big study in rhythm and imitation, I have three performances:

Hadrien Jourdan on the British built (Dallam) 17th century organ at Lanvellec. The performance is almost symphonic in the sense recommended as authentic by Stef Tuinstra in his notes on Georg Boehm: Jourdan ain't shy of using all the colourful stops at his disposal. The performance also reflects his view in the booklet that all but the last pieces by Tomkins are extravagant and impulsive.

Bernhard Klapprott on the 17th century meantone tuned organ at Uttum. The organ sounds old but more faceless than Jourdan's and the performance is more sober. 

Bertrand Cuiller on a modern copy of a Dutch style 16th century harpsichord, he turns it into a real virtuoso keyboard piece, exciting from the point of view of keyboard fireworks, fast and furious. .

« Last Edit: November 02, 2015, 12:20:02 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 08:38:55 AM »


What is the essence of Englishness?

I dunno, but part of it is to do with rumbustious humour, a delight in playing with the established norms of good taste,  a relish of the unexpected, a phlegmatic temperament and a native understanding of elegance and style.

This record of consort music by Thomas Morley played by La Caccia shows his music is as English as tuppence. La Caccia find an enormous range and depth of feeling. The ensemble is impeccable, the tone is beautiful.

One plus point for me is that the music is too early to be Corelli-esque.

The only reservation is to do with the solo virginal pieces, there aren't many of them but Guy Penson seemed slightly to cautious.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 08:45:03 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2015, 10:00:02 AM »


Lena Jacobson plays some music from Elizabeth Rogers' Virginal Book and by Martin Peerson, on the Compenius organ at Frederiksborg. Short choppy speech like articulation, dramatic and often astringent registrations and unexpected registration changes, lots of agogic hesitations. Intrusive mechanical action. The stream has some distortion. I think it's absolutely wonderful, I've just ordered the CD to get the booklet essay. What I'm hoping is that she supports her way of playing historically - though even if it's just a quirky romantic aberration it's still a fascinating thing to hear.

Que should not buy this recording.

The organ is clearly special, are there any other solo recordings of it? (I have Michelsen's chamber music recording and I've heard Koopman play it on YouTube)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 10:04:51 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2015, 10:24:30 AM »

Que should not buy this recording.


Thanks for the warning... :D

Q
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2015, 01:34:20 PM »
The organ is clearly special, are there any other solo recordings of it? (I have Michelsen's chamber music recording and I've heard Koopman play it on YouTube)

These (I think you know most of them):

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Michael-Praetorius-1571-1621-Orgelwerke-Auch-auff-Orgeln/hnum/3076831

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/D%E4nische-Orgelmusik/hnum/7742201

http://www.amazon.de/Orgel-Frederiksborg-Sonderborg-Bolliger-Albert/dp/B000IJ7GQO/ref=sr_1_39?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1446672659&sr=1-39&keywords=albert+bolliger    (only half of it recorded on the Compenius organ)

parts of this: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Philips/4684172

vol.1 of this: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Classico/CLASSCD528

Francis Chapelet (Harmonia Mundi), Helmut Tramnitz (Archive), Finn Viderø (HMV) and Per Kynne Frandsen (Danish Fona) recorded an LP each on this organ, they are since long OOP.

From the top of my head I can not think of others.

Yes, Lena Jacobson´s CD is unusual, maybe too unusual for Que. :)
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2015, 01:35:53 PM »


Thomas Tomkins Offertory is a big study in rhythm and imitation, I have three performances:

Hadrien Jourdan on the British built (Dallam) 17th century organ at Lanvellec. The performance is almost symphonic in the sense recommended as authentic by Stef Tuinstra in his notes on Georg Boehm: Jourdan ain't shy of using all the colourful stops at his disposal. The performance also reflects his view in the booklet that all but the last pieces by Tomkins are extravagant and impulsive.

Thanks for the tip, ordered at once.
Tiden læger alle sår,
heldigt nok at tiden går.

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2015, 01:42:49 PM »

In it, the most substantial piece is very well appreciated, Bull's 9th In Nomine. ... Payne gives a bold performance because he takes it quite slowly, but to me it's a great success, revealing an inner life and nobility to the music, as well as a great sense of breaking free from the form at the end. I can't think of a better organ performance off hand,  Payne also recorded it on harpsichord for BIS.

Yes, and Payne also recorded the In Nomine no. IX on organ for Vox in a late 1960es 3 LP Fitzwilliam Virginal Book excerpts Box, his recording debut I think. IMO it is even more noble than the Naxos recording.

http://www.amazon.de/Fitzwilliam-Virginal-Book-Joseph-Payne/dp/B000009JZP/ref=sr_1_27?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1446673207&sr=1-27&keywords=joseph+payne
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2015, 01:33:49 PM »
These (I think you know most of them):

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Michael-Praetorius-1571-1621-Orgelwerke-Auch-auff-Orgeln/hnum/3076831

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/D%E4nische-Orgelmusik/hnum/7742201

http://www.amazon.de/Orgel-Frederiksborg-Sonderborg-Bolliger-Albert/dp/B000IJ7GQO/ref=sr_1_39?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1446672659&sr=1-39&keywords=albert+bolliger    (only half of it recorded on the Compenius organ)

parts of this: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Philips/4684172

vol.1 of this: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Classico/CLASSCD528

Francis Chapelet (Harmonia Mundi), Helmut Tramnitz (Archive), Finn Viderø (HMV) and Per Kynne Frandsen (Danish Fona) recorded an LP each on this organ, they are since long OOP.

From the top of my head I can not think of others.

Yes, Lena Jacobson´s CD is unusual, maybe too unusual for Que. :)

Thanks for this. I have heard some of them. I didn't realise that Koopman used it for Sweelinck, I don't have the booklet (that's a real limitation of streams.)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2015, 01:45:14 PM »


Bjarte Eike and Barokksolistene play music by Anthony Holborne and others. Just an informal reaction - I think this is pretty special. I've been really impressed recently by what a difference meantone tuning can make in organ music, and I've been looking for a viol consort which have that "sour cream" sound. Barokksolistene just may be the job. The sounds they make in Holborne's Image of Melancholy, and in his Last Will and Testament are extraordinary. Much more like real voix égales playing than Savall.



Anyway this is a consort to follow I think.

« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 01:51:53 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2015, 09:09:47 AM »
   

This is a CD called Passion of Reason by a scratch group called Sour Cream. There are a couple of recorder players, a viol and (rarely) a lute type thing.

This cd contains several outstanding pieces by composers who were completely unknown to me. Close to the top of the list has to be the Ground on la mi re by Thomas Preston, which is unbelievably atmospheric, it's apparently his only surviving piece. But by no means in second place is a little sequence of three numbers by William Cornish. Cornish's fa la sol is quite substantial and involves some extended and imaginative imitative counterpoint. I'm beginning to see how so many of the best of these early contrapuntal fantasias are really explorations of rhythm, rhythm changes. His second of his  pieces called Catholicon is, here at least, both rhythmically and harmonically interesting.


Nathaniel Giles Salvador Mundi is possibly the most astonishing study in rhythm here, a wonderful sense of climax. Presumably it's a transcription. 

Chistopher Tye's masterpiece Sit Fast, which I'd only known as a work for viol consort, is given a splendid treatment on  recorders, every bit the equal of Fretwork and Spirit of Gambo, much better than Savall.

But the high point is an enormous set of four pieces which have their origins in something called The Baldwin Manuscript, I don't know how old the music is, they're all tagged as Kyrie on the stream, and they are totally disorienting in that familiar early music way. This doesn't sound like mass transcriptions  to me, but it does sound like music to come to terms with, as it were. Once again I'm missing the booklet.

There's a lot of other music on the recording, but not British.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 09:17:29 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2016, 11:19:59 PM »


The striking thing about this CD is that it is uncompromisingly oneric.

For Egarr, Gibbons is a romantic before his time, and the music is an exploration of the most profound and mysterious states of soul.

This way of playing Gibbons is not new, Gould and Pienaar played the music a bit like that on modern piano. But I think it is true that Egarr is the first to play Gibbons romantically on an old instrument. The other harpsichordist often fall into the error of treating his music as sterile and metronomic Elizabethan virtuoso fodder.

Egarr is helped in this respect by a poetic virginal. And he is helped by a fabulous technique - like no other active harpsichord player I can I can think of, Egarr can vary attack and touch.

An early recording in Egarr's career I think (it's a Globe CD), but it's one which seems to me to be more in the spirit of his Louis Couperin than his Froberger. See what you think.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 11:24:00 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2016, 11:27:27 PM »
I find Richard Egarr's style generally erratic.

I never know what to expect from him, except that it is going to be different and that it will probably sound off stylistically....and plainly odd.
Gave up on him years ago...so there might be repertoire where he gets it just right8)

Q
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