Author Topic: Early English Vocal Music  (Read 5862 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2018, 08:50:49 PM »
What you need, que, is to get into the 21st century and access a music stream so you can try these things out.

I wonder what other music there is by Ashwell.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 08:52:22 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2018, 06:23:46 AM »


The interpretation of John Browne’s Stabat Mater by Tonus Peregrinus is most distinctive, I’d be interested to know what others make of it.
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #62 on: October 04, 2018, 12:55:11 PM »
The interpretation of John Browne’s Stabat Mater by Tonus Peregrinus is most distinctive, I’d be interested to know what others make of it.

I'm afraid this one falls into the (almost vanishingly) small category of recordings I really, really hate.  It's well enough sung, if a bit bloodless compared with The Sixteen, and very well recorded, in an acoustic that allows plenty of air around the sound while reproducing the voices with great clarity (you could almost take it down from dictation, if you could write fast enough).  The second bass's delivery is rather strange: he seems to think, in a piece where you spend most of your time singing the same endless vowel sounds, that he has to aspirate each note - listen to him in the passage starting about 4:55 - "He he he he he he..."

But none of this compares to the relentless, random, doctrinaire butchery of the Eton text by the editor, whoever he or she is (editions are attributed, by some principle of shared guilt, to Tonus Peregrinus alone).  A decision seems to have been taken that Browne was intending to write his piece in good, plain, 18th-century G minor, and just needed a bit (well, rather a lot) of help to sort out his theoretical shortcomings.  In my younger and more vulnerable years I made a performing edition of this piece myself, from which I've sung on several occasions, and which I now look back on rather fondly.  The Eton text needs a fair amount of sympathetic interpretation - the top part, for example, is minus a key-signature for much of its length, while the lower parts generally have a one-flat G dorian signature, and in my youthful zeal to remain faithful to the source, I may rather gleefully have allowed a lot of the resulting false relations to stand.  That's the Urtext approach; but Tonus Peregrinus' reckless addition of E flats and F sharps takes matters way to the other extreme of editorial intervention.  I've always found one of the most thrilling moments in the piece to be the first entry of the full choir (1:55 in this recording), with the top part's dazzling Dorian E natural, but woahhh! this is in G minor, isn't it, so in fact it's supposed to be an E flat, silly Mr Browne!  (For the record, the Eton scribe is a bit erratic with his accidentals, but generally remembers to put upper E flats in when required.)  The same approach is taken to cadential F sharps, which are flung about with a fine disregard for any musical sense - take the passage about 1:25, for example, where an F# forms a diminished 4th with a Bb, which might be fine in a madrigal from the 1590s, but not in something from a century earlier.  You may feel that the odd sharped leading-note is justified, although I would want to argue that in a cultural backwater like England, fresh from the Wars of the Roses, the antique style probably prevailed longer than on mainland Europe.

I didn't manage to listen much beyond 5:00 without feeling I was going insane, but seem to remember that the final pages are completely stripped of their B flats to bring the piece to a radiant G major conclusion, again in complete disregard of what's actually on the page.

Rant over now, I promise - probably my longest ever GMG post.  Some recordings just stir up the passions in all the wrong ways.  It's a Desert Island piece of mine, so perhaps I'm allowed.  Do listen to The Sixteen - I can't imagine a collection as comprehensive as yours won't include a copy.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #63 on: October 05, 2018, 05:17:06 AM »
Thanks for your comments, I’ll certainly listen to The Sixteen, at the moment I’m very impressed by both Browne and Cornysh so I’m keen to hear everything I can get hold of. I certainly agree that the Stabat Mater is a really fabulous composition, a real high point.

As always, the question for me when I meet a highly embellished performance like Tonus Peregrinus in the Browne Stabat Mater, is why are they doing it? I’ve never really investigated the idea of changing the written harmonies in a score as a way to make it more expressive.

By the way I’ll just mention parenthetically that I’ve been really enjoying the recording of a Ludford mass that James O’Donnell released earlier this year.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 05:30:33 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #64 on: October 05, 2018, 06:55:53 AM »
I'm afraid this one falls into the (almost vanishingly) small category of recordings I really, really hate.  It's well enough sung, if a bit bloodless compared with The Sixteen, and very well recorded, in an acoustic that allows plenty of air around the sound while reproducing the voices with great clarity (you could almost take it down from dictation, if you could write fast enough).  The second bass's delivery is rather strange: he seems to think, in a piece where you spend most of your time singing the same endless vowel sounds, that he has to aspirate each note - listen to him in the passage starting about 4:55 - "He he he he he he..."

But none of this compares to the relentless, random, doctrinaire butchery of the Eton text by the editor, whoever he or she is (editions are attributed, by some principle of shared guilt, to Tonus Peregrinus alone).  A decision seems to have been taken that Browne was intending to write his piece in good, plain, 18th-century G minor, and just needed a bit (well, rather a lot) of help to sort out his theoretical shortcomings.  In my younger and more vulnerable years I made a performing edition of this piece myself, from which I've sung on several occasions, and which I now look back on rather fondly.  The Eton text needs a fair amount of sympathetic interpretation - the top part, for example, is minus a key-signature for much of its length, while the lower parts generally have a one-flat G dorian signature, and in my youthful zeal to remain faithful to the source, I may rather gleefully have allowed a lot of the resulting false relations to stand.  That's the Urtext approach; but Tonus Peregrinus' reckless addition of E flats and F sharps takes matters way to the other extreme of editorial intervention.  I've always found one of the most thrilling moments in the piece to be the first entry of the full choir (1:55 in this recording), with the top part's dazzling Dorian E natural, but woahhh! this is in G minor, isn't it, so in fact it's supposed to be an E flat, silly Mr Browne!  (For the record, the Eton scribe is a bit erratic with his accidentals, but generally remembers to put upper E flats in when required.)  The same approach is taken to cadential F sharps, which are flung about with a fine disregard for any musical sense - take the passage about 1:25, for example, where an F# forms a diminished 4th with a Bb, which might be fine in a madrigal from the 1590s, but not in something from a century earlier.  You may feel that the odd sharped leading-note is justified, although I would want to argue that in a cultural backwater like England, fresh from the Wars of the Roses, the antique style probably prevailed longer than on mainland Europe.

I didn't manage to listen much beyond 5:00 without feeling I was going insane, but seem to remember that the final pages are completely stripped of their B flats to bring the piece to a radiant G major conclusion, again in complete disregard of what's actually on the page.

Rant over now, I promise - probably my longest ever GMG post.  Some recordings just stir up the passions in all the wrong ways.  It's a Desert Island piece of mine, so perhaps I'm allowed.  Do listen to The Sixteen - I can't imagine a collection as comprehensive as yours won't include a copy.


I've just listened to The Sixteen recording and it is beautifully sung. I have two other versions of Browne's Stabat Mater (neither of them TP) but I will refrain from naming them for fear of another explosion!

Offline Traverso

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #65 on: October 05, 2018, 07:46:55 AM »
I have this one and I love it.




Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #66 on: October 05, 2018, 09:16:28 AM »
This is an imaginative one, my favourite at the moment, you can follow it with the score and the text even to see where he's using musica ficta and other embellishments, and he's even left the text so you can try to make sense of the expressive decisions.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/S8_5BhCE_lM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/S8_5BhCE_lM</a>

I like Carine Tinney's voice -- I think that's who it is.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 09:25:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #67 on: October 05, 2018, 09:37:32 AM »

I've just listened to The Sixteen recording and it is beautifully sung. I have two other versions of Browne's Stabat Mater (neither of them TP) but I will refrain from naming them for fear of another explosion!

 >:D ;) I also have the Tallis Scholars and the Taverners, and love them too.  It's just TP that bring out the witch-burning Protestant in me.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #68 on: October 06, 2018, 12:43:05 AM »
And having now heard it I cannot help but recommend it enthusiastically, even to people who may have been allergic to Schmelzer like premont and possibly que too.

The bottom line is that Ashwell is a great great composer, totally quirky and intuitive, disorienting in harmonies and rhythms and textures. Schmelzer has a fabulous bunch of singers at the moment who are, I’m sure of it through seeing them and hearing recordings like this, 110% committed to the Graindelavoix ideal.


 Schmelzer’s very understandable and non philosophical essay is, for once, illuminating, and his way of relating architecture and music and theological ideas is inspiring. Schmelzer understands well the relation between early music and ideas, this music isn’t “abstract”, it’s meaningful.

Who could fail to be excited when they read this sort of idea?

The inspiring writing goes beyond Ashwell by the way, it extends to Dufay’s extraordinary Marian motet Gaude Virgo

We discussed Paul van Nevel’s extraordinary recording of this mass before. He is going round right now with a concert programme of English music where he says this

I haven’t heard it though I would travel across Europe to do so.

Maybe what we’re starting to see  is that English excellence in polyphony extends beyond Dunstable and Frye, extends beyond their influence on Obrecht and Busnois.

So, it took seven months for the CD to come out since I posted that YouTube clip from this recording back in February. 

There's not much out there for Thomas Ashewell other than the Nevel recording. 

I also found this by Graindelavoix on YouTube:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/CH1QzyANB5g" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/CH1QzyANB5g</a>

I am interested in hearing more, though.

Glad to see, and thanks for posting about it.  I found it on Spotify and am listening to it right now. 

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #69 on: October 06, 2018, 09:33:38 AM »
I'm afraid this one falls into the (almost vanishingly) small category of recordings I really, really hate.  It's well enough sung, if a bit bloodless compared with The Sixteen, and very well recorded, in an acoustic that allows plenty of air around the sound while reproducing the voices with great clarity (you could almost take it down from dictation, if you could write fast enough).  The second bass's delivery is rather strange: he seems to think, in a piece where you spend most of your time singing the same endless vowel sounds, that he has to aspirate each note - listen to him in the passage starting about 4:55 - "He he he he he he..."

But none of this compares to the relentless, random, doctrinaire butchery of the Eton text by the editor, whoever he or she is (editions are attributed, by some principle of shared guilt, to Tonus Peregrinus alone).  A decision seems to have been taken that Browne was intending to write his piece in good, plain, 18th-century G minor, and just needed a bit (well, rather a lot) of help to sort out his theoretical shortcomings.  In my younger and more vulnerable years I made a performing edition of this piece myself, from which I've sung on several occasions, and which I now look back on rather fondly.  The Eton text needs a fair amount of sympathetic interpretation - the top part, for example, is minus a key-signature for much of its length, while the lower parts generally have a one-flat G dorian signature, and in my youthful zeal to remain faithful to the source, I may rather gleefully have allowed a lot of the resulting false relations to stand.  That's the Urtext approach; but Tonus Peregrinus' reckless addition of E flats and F sharps takes matters way to the other extreme of editorial intervention.  I've always found one of the most thrilling moments in the piece to be the first entry of the full choir (1:55 in this recording), with the top part's dazzling Dorian E natural, but woahhh! this is in G minor, isn't it, so in fact it's supposed to be an E flat, silly Mr Browne!  (For the record, the Eton scribe is a bit erratic with his accidentals, but generally remembers to put upper E flats in when required.)  The same approach is taken to cadential F sharps, which are flung about with a fine disregard for any musical sense - take the passage about 1:25, for example, where an F# forms a diminished 4th with a Bb, which might be fine in a madrigal from the 1590s, but not in something from a century earlier.  You may feel that the odd sharped leading-note is justified, although I would want to argue that in a cultural backwater like England, fresh from the Wars of the Roses, the antique style probably prevailed longer than on mainland Europe.

I didn't manage to listen much beyond 5:00 without feeling I was going insane, but seem to remember that the final pages are completely stripped of their B flats to bring the piece to a radiant G major conclusion, again in complete disregard of what's actually on the page.

Rant over now, I promise - probably my longest ever GMG post.  Some recordings just stir up the passions in all the wrong ways.  It's a Desert Island piece of mine, so perhaps I'm allowed.  Do listen to The Sixteen - I can't imagine a collection as comprehensive as yours won't include a copy.

Yes I like The Sixteen, and I see your point about the entry of the choir, and indeed about the end, thanks, you prompted me to listen much more carefully. I just wish 16  were a bit better recorded, with “more air” , a lot of my pleasure in TP comes from that quality.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 09:40:58 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #70 on: November 03, 2018, 02:37:42 PM »


I believe that there are several motets by John Forest extant but as far as I know the only ones recorded are

1. Qualis et Delecta - Binchois Consort (Lily and Rose); Hilliard, Revedie
2. Ascendit Christus -  Binchois Consort (100 Years) Hilliard
3. Alma Redemptoris Mater - Binchois Consort (100 years)
4. Gaude martyr - Binchois Consort (100 years)

I first became interested in the composer because I was impressed by the complexity, and beauty, of Alma Rendemotoris Mater, which is for me the major  motet highlight of that recording. That led me to Hilliard, who are extraordinary in Ascendit Christus.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 02:49:11 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline JBS

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #71 on: November 03, 2018, 07:43:57 PM »
Nota bene
Arkivmusic has Blue Heron's Peterhouse set on sale for $51.99 through Sunday 11/4 midnight EST.


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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #72 on: November 04, 2018, 04:52:21 AM »
Nota bene
Arkivmusic has Blue Heron's Peterhouse set on sale for $51.99 through Sunday 11/4 midnight EST.

Let me know if you find anything special in there, apart from the first CD, which I already know is special.
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Offline JBS

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #73 on: November 04, 2018, 10:02:57 AM »
Let me know if you find anything special in there, apart from the first CD, which I already know is special.

Will do, but it may be a bit.  Not only do I have that Christ Church Eton Choirbook set (and a CD from The Sixteen of highlights from the Eton books) but I am currently going through everything I have from the Tallis Scholars, since it's been a while I listened to most of that....


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Offline San Antone

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #74 on: November 04, 2018, 11:35:58 AM »
Along with Stephen Darlington, Peter Phillips and Andrew Parrott - this is the most recent one I like.



It would be great if Blue Heron would record the Eton Choirbook as they have with the Peterhouse set.

Offline JBS

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #75 on: November 04, 2018, 11:51:42 AM »
Has anyone recorded any of the Lamberth and Caius Choirbooks?  If not, I would suggest them before anything more from Eton.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambeth_Choirbook
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caius_Choirbook


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Offline Biffo

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #76 on: November 05, 2018, 01:32:37 AM »
Has anyone recorded any of the Lamberth and Caius Choirbooks?  If not, I would suggest them before anything more from Eton.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambeth_Choirbook
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caius_Choirbook

The Cardinall's Musick have recorded Ludford's Missa Christi Virgo Dilectissima. Their source is Gonville and Caius MS 667. Whether this is the same as the Caius Choirbook in the link isn't clear, to me at least.

Offline JBS

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Re: Early English Vocal Music
« Reply #77 on: November 05, 2018, 05:38:39 PM »
The Cardinall's Musick have recorded Ludford's Missa Christi Virgo Dilectissima. Their source is Gonville and Caius MS 667. Whether this is the same as the Caius Choirbook in the link isn't clear, to me at least.


It is (one of the links at the bottom of the  Wiki page is this)
https://www.diamm.ac.uk/sources/225/#/

The inventory tab gives the full contents.


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