Author Topic: Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret  (Read 567 times)

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Offline deprofundis

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Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret
« on: February 11, 2020, 12:06:39 PM »
I had a couple of cameo apparition of him, here and there, but did not knew the amplitude of his works, his missa or prodigious, very  very good(pardon this neologism), but this composer was an eye opener.

Some people claim whiteout proof English polyphony is a bit drab, well this is so false Fayrfax is awesome. I only had heard a couple of Motets which were very sweet, but is missa are not to be miss out on.

I spotted two album of his missa one more expensive then the other, one 10 buck one is 20$, they are worth it, he is my favorite composer of the English after the might of Robert White another grandiose member of England polyphony, soon as I can I will purchase them.

I wonder what you guys think of these two , member of GmG, People of taste like I.e Mandryka.

The English polyphony is more supreme than I could imagine, I'm breathless & speechless.
-Zillion emotional truths of whatever, meant nothing to me there bias, I believe in reality and there is only one and only for all... as a mystic I see trough Myst and ''Ocus Pocus'' welcome to the real word, brave goodwill Cartesian/spiritual soul-

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2020, 12:14:55 PM »


Fayrfax (1464 – 1521) came from the generation before Taverner (1490 –1545)

The mass Tecum Principium in this recording is unbelievably contemplative. For someone with my tastes, it's just what I want from music, it's a magical piece of work. David Skinner in his essay for the CD says that the mass harks back to Ludford's style, but I feel that it takes off more than anything Ludford ever wrote. But it takes off in an inward direction, inside your soul rather than out towards the sun.

The piece ends with a Marian hymn (or something, Marian anyway -- passion almost). Andrew Carwood wrote a note about it for the CD where he highlights how the text is structured around memory, recollection, contemplation. I've put some of his phrases in bold.

Quote from: Andrew Carwood with my emphasis
A NOTE ON Maria plena virtute

So great was the devotion to Our Lady in pre-Reformation England that many texts were written in her honour, for Mary is the great allegory of the Church. She was present when the Church was born, that is when Christ died. Through her sorrow, as expressed in the Stations of the Cross for example, those in prayer can relate to the pain of the Passion and Crucifixion. She makes understandable the mystery of redemption through Christ's death and focuses human feeling in an accessible way. Votive antiphons produced in early Tudor England had various forms, but the setting Maria plena virtute seems exceptional. It is closer to a private musing on the matter of the Passion rather than a formal prayer to the Virgin. It begins in a predictable way with an invocation to Mary, but, after the opening trio and duet, moves swiftly to the Passion narrative, with a gentle swaying back and forth from narrative and personal interjection rather like the chorus in a play. Whilst contemplating the forgiveness for which he
so longs, the penitent is reminded of Christ's forgiveness on the Cross and so begins the first reference to St Luke's Gospel (23, w. 39-43). Then the focus is widened as the writer moves to the scene at the foot of the Cross when Christ commits the care of his mother to the beloved disciple (St John 19, w. 25-7). Here again the writer casts his mind back to the words from St Mark concerning the son of Man who comes not to be served but to serve (St Mark 10, v. 44). Then a jolt back to the present and St John, however not simply 'I thirst' as in the gospel narrative, but 'Sitio salutem genuis' (I thirst for the salvation of Man), which once again is the cue for personal musing before a movement to Matthew (27, v. 46) and back to John (19, v. 30). There is further drawing on scripture at the mention of the sword piercing Mary's heart (St Luke 2, v. 35) and the mission of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (St John 19, vv. 38-42). The end of the work returns the attention to Mary and a glimmer of light given by the words 'regina caeli' (a Paschaltide reference to the Virgin). It is difficult to ascribe any particular season to votive antiphons, yet Maria plena virtute, with its concen-tration on the gospel passion narratives and its ironic reference to 'regina caeli', seems ideally suited to Holy Week. This is an intensely personal devotion to which Fayrfax has responded in a most personal style. There is little melismatic writing compared with his contempo-raries; indeed the syllabic word setting in places seems more reminiscent of the Continent than England. 'Ora pro me', pleads the writer (not the usual 'ora pro nobis'), to which Fayrfax responds with remarkable melodic and harmonic subtlety and with such care over the word setting, the like of which would not be a regular feature in English church music until later in the century. © 1995 Andrew Carwood

And this interiority is absolutely reflected in the performance style.

This is a revealing and coherent recording.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline deprofundis

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Re: Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2020, 03:01:18 PM »
The cardinal's musick is really a force to reckon whit, I have the three mass wow no I mean WOW in caps locks.

These missa are tremendously good, full of light sung whit heart and soul, Mandryka, I,m glad to know you like them as much as I do.Good night dear friend, take care, at first I did not think much of English polyphony beside the big names, until I explore it more and I recalled you introduced me to some great music on Ensemble Blue Heron ensemble like Ashwell and I'm thankful for this. You're  a distinguished gentleman.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 05:29:54 AM by deprofundis »
-Zillion emotional truths of whatever, meant nothing to me there bias, I believe in reality and there is only one and only for all... as a mystic I see trough Myst and ''Ocus Pocus'' welcome to the real word, brave goodwill Cartesian/spiritual soul-

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Offline amw

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Re: Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2020, 03:48:39 PM »
I think I have all of the Cardinall's Musick Fayrfax series at the moment but I definitely need more. Had to take an obligatory class on renaissance polyphony at uni and Fayrfax was probably the composer whose music I connected to most immediately. I can find very few other recordings—I guess maybe a case where the works recorded by the CM constitute all we have of his that has survived the last 500 years. (The Sixteen also recorded one of the masses for Hyperion, now out of print.... debating whether it's worth the £7 for the audio files)

Offline deprofundis

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Re: Robert Fayrfax one of England best kept secret
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 12:06:18 PM »
You should invest in this hyperion release Robert Fayrfax is oustanding, his work are of a surreal beauty, I think hhe is in the Pantheon of English composer one that is rank high, not the uttermost prolific bull all he did was moving, soulful, enchanting.

Mandryka would agree, to this statement, I,m listening to  his missa right now for a third time wow, excellence made in Britain, renaissance composer not to be forgotten, I hope someone will do an album of his motets ( twelves of them counting).
Supreme polyphony= ''la grande classe Robert Fayrfax''!
-Zillion emotional truths of whatever, meant nothing to me there bias, I believe in reality and there is only one and only for all... as a mystic I see trough Myst and ''Ocus Pocus'' welcome to the real word, brave goodwill Cartesian/spiritual soul-

Deprofundis quote 1.01