Author Topic: Early English Instrumental Music  (Read 32760 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

Quote
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

Quote
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

Quote
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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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #187 on: June 26, 2019, 09:59:11 PM »


I know of no more satisfying selection from The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book than this old recording for Koopman - who plays with refinement and  flexibility, he makes each twist and turn of each piece a feel surprising and the whole sound full of creative fantasy. Koopman seems to transmit a sense joy, light hearted joy, and discovery.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #188 on: August 15, 2019, 03:23:26 AM »


Noone can beat The Rose Consort for learned counterpoint, and that's what we have hear from Richard Dering, whose instrumental music is new to me. It contains half a dozen tracks by him, mostly for viol consort. Peter Philips' keyboard music is very familiar, but less so in viol consort. So this CD is doubly valuable. The whole thing is topped and tailed by a pair of motets from some singers in Aberdeen -- I wonder whether that was wise but I don't want to gripe.
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #189 on: August 20, 2019, 08:38:49 PM »


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.

I just gave this disc a re-listen, and I agree 100% here. I've been having difficulties with this recording, since it's not exactly the most accessible music and the playing is quite austere. But once you get into the mood, it's wonderfully poetic.

Without reading your post, I also noted the gently singing treble of the organ and how beautiful the pure 1/4 comma meantone temperament was. (When it comes to temperament, I tend to like very "Mean" ones, or just equal temperament. Kellner is the closest I'll go to a well temperament)

It's great to note that Klapprott limits himself to 5 (Or less? I don't have the booklet out right now) of the instrument's total of 9 stops, citing Tomkin's limited selection of stops on his own organ. So no mixtures or reeds - it's a bit of a shame, since one of the main highlights of the Uttum organ is its ancient trumpet stop dating from the early 16th century, probably one of the oldest reed stops in the world. But it's amazing what can be done with only 5 stops, and I don't think my ears ever get tired because of how interesting the stops intrinsically sound.

A great reminder that a simple little meantone organ can still work wonders in the right hands.

There are also few recordings of the Uttum organ on the Glossa Sweelinck set, played much in the same vein. They are lovely too, and maybe show the organ in slightly more "detail" (Hard to explain, but I catch on more nuances of the sound of the organ in the Sweelinck set than in the Tomkins. Might be a mic placement thing).

Speaking of more early English organ music, any thoughts on this one? I feel like the organ is great and characterful, but just becomes less interesting when next to a great organ like the Uttum instrument. Playing is good, but so far not much has stood out for me.
I do hear a "family relationship" with Uttum, though - the organ sings too.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 08:40:59 PM by bioluminescentsquid »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #190 on: August 20, 2019, 09:00:52 PM »
I wrote some notes on that Farr CD somewhere and I remember liking it. I can’t check now as I have to catch a train.

The Klaprott is fabulous, I may be able to let you have the booklets when I get back, this weekend. (Going to Antwerp for the music festival.)

The only other Tomkins dedicated keyboard CD I know is by Carole Cerasi, and I guess Belder has done a handful of pieces, neither use organ and neither has caught my imagination to date.

One fabulous piece of Tomkins, Pavana Angelica,  is played by the greatest clavichord player since Bach, Siegbert Rampe, here on this Peter Philips CD

« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 09:07:54 PM by Mandryka »
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Online vers la flamme

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #191 on: August 21, 2019, 01:52:23 AM »
Mandryka, can you point me in the direction of great recordings of Orlando Gibbons' keyboard music, preferably played on an authentic virginals? Bonus points if pieces by Byrd are also included.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #192 on: August 21, 2019, 02:56:33 AM »
Mandryka, can you point me in the direction of great recordings of Orlando Gibbons' keyboard music, preferably played on an authentic virginals? Bonus points if pieces by Byrd are also included.

Laurent Stewart recorded a single CD with Gibbons and Byrd,  but it's on a Ruckers harpsichord, that's the first thing that came to mind. Virtuoso rather than reflective.

If you can forego the Byrd,  Egarr uses a virginal and I like what he does very much. He's reflective rather than virtuoso. Hogwood too used a virginal.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 04:05:32 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Que

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #193 on: August 21, 2019, 09:28:07 AM »
Mandryka, can you point me in the direction of great recordings of Orlando Gibbons' keyboard music, preferably played on an authentic virginals? Bonus points if pieces by Byrd are also included.

For Gibbons, I like Hogwood:



For Byrd, the Moroney set us a no-brainer:


Q
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 08:04:48 PM by Que »

Online vers la flamme

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #194 on: August 22, 2019, 02:49:53 AM »
Awesome, thanks, boys. Egarr and Hogwood are big names. I shall start there.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #195 on: August 23, 2019, 07:42:04 AM »


I've heard so much of this sort of music now that I feared I was getting blasé. Anyway this had arrived this morning and quite honestly I've been strapped to my seat -- music for a pair of Lyra Viols (so very contrapuntal -- the lyra viol is built to make it possible to play chords), all by British composers. What can I do to explain the style better than  say that the Pandolfo bowing technique is obviously very much an influence, and indeed it turns out that both of the musicians worked with him in Basel.

How did I find the CD? Well by way of this



which I really got because I was attracted to the style of the tenor, Julian Podger. When it arrived I thought I'd made a mistake because so many of the tracks are purely instrumental, and I find c15 instrumental music quite a challenge to enjoy normally. But something must have registered because I played it a lot, and slowly I could see that the ensemble, Musicke and Mirth, were doing very good things indeed, very interesting things with the counterpoint in the music. So one thing leads to another . . .
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 08:12:23 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #196 on: August 23, 2019, 07:45:17 AM »
Awesome, thanks, boys. Egarr and Hogwood are big names. I shall start there.

If you like the Hogwood be sure to try his Fitzwilliam Virginal Bk recording, which I very much enjoy, and indeed his Byrd (My Laydie Nevelle) is well worth checking out I think.
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #197 on: August 23, 2019, 01:41:26 PM »
Mandryka, can you point me in the direction of great recordings of Orlando Gibbons' keyboard music, preferably played on an authentic virginals? Bonus points if pieces by Byrd are also included.

I think you will like this one:

Music of Byrd, Bull and of course Gibbons.
Played on 6 different harpsichords and virginals, 3 of them originals. Played in the sort of harpsichord style in vogue nowadays that lovers will call dreamy and poetic, and haters limp-wristed. I like it!

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #198 on: August 23, 2019, 08:16:46 PM »
Gibbons is really hard to make into music I think. There are only a few dedicated CDs of keyboard music

Daniel Ben Pienaar (Piano)
John Toll (Harpsichord, Virginal)
Richard Egarr (Harpsichord)
Laurent Stewart (Harpsichord)
Christopher Hogwood (Harpsichord, organ, virginal)
Richard Woolley (Organ)

Byrd has been recorded more, much more.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 08:20:42 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline bioluminescentsquid

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Re: Early English Instrumental Music
« Reply #199 on: August 23, 2019, 11:25:32 PM »
Gibbons is really hard to make into music I think. There are only a few dedicated CDs of keyboard music

Daniel Ben Pienaar (Piano)
John Toll (Harpsichord, Virginal)
Richard Egarr (Harpsichord)
Laurent Stewart (Harpsichord)
Christopher Hogwood (Harpsichord, organ, virginal)
Richard Woolley (Organ)

Byrd has been recorded more, much more.

Woolley, do you mean this one?