GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Mandryka on April 07, 2016, 09:25:58 PM

Title: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on April 07, 2016, 09:25:58 PM
(http://www.classical.net/music/recs/images/h/hyp55079.jpg)

I'm sure there are many imperfections with this recording of Christopher Tye's Missa Euge Bone by David Hill/Winchester Cathedral Choir. The recording is hardly state of the art and I have a friend who says that the intonation is not the best (though I don't notice it.) But nevertheless in my opinion it is an astonishing performance because of the strength and personality of the voices, especially the lower voices - at times the male choruses made me think of those bits of Parsifal when the Grail knights start to get shirty because Amfortas won't open the shrine.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on April 08, 2016, 03:45:23 AM
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/NELPgupO5w8/maxresdefault.jpg)


In this particular case, [the reasons for Peter Philips balance which favours sopranos is]  authenticity to reflect music written to show off the high voices.  Philips says that the composer had high quality upper voices available to use, that the mass was probably composed for performance in the presence of King Henry and Queen Catherine, and that therefore Taverner made a point of showing off his high voices, rather like an opera composer in 19th century Italy would write music to show off the lead soprano's voice (the comparison is Philips, not mine)

 

I must say I am very impressed with this recording of Taverner's Missa Corona Spinea. The discussion above (and other reviews on Amazon) makes it sound as though the male voices have a really secondary role, but in fact they create some wonderful harmonies (again a surprise, just because Philips in Josquin is so timid about dissonances. But here, the harmonies are fabulously tangy!)

But more than this - and this shows he's a great musician IMO - the way he tells a story with the music is magic. The tempos are  slow, but you (I) don't notice the time passing at all, such is his mastery of the music's structure.

I like the relatively small ensemble too. The balance between ecstasy and control is wonderful too.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on April 09, 2016, 03:43:19 AM
(https://ecmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/walter-frye1.jpg)   (http://thumbs.ebaystatic.com/images/i/331430186049-0-1/s-l225.jpg)

I know two recordings of Walter Frye's Missa Flos Regalis, on CDs by Hilliard and Clerks' Group. I prefer Clerks' Group for two reasons. One is they tend to chose slower tempos, which lets me smell the roses. It would be unfair to say that Hilliard are chaotic by comparison, but the faster speeds makes the music feel more complex than my brain can take: the polyphonic textures feel more like a tangled ball of string. And second, Hilliard (as always) are dominated by their countertenor's voice, and although I like David James's voice it it is sometimes so present it gets on my nerves. The blend is less annoying from Clerks' group.

Both deliver small scale performances where you're aware of the character of each singer. Furthermore, both deliver rather prayerful performance, rapt. This may be due to the nature of the music, or it may be just one of many equally valid performance styles. I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on April 24, 2016, 11:42:30 AM
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/AMG/covers/large/253/2536682.jpg)

Some astonishing things on this collection of English fragments from Liber unUsualis. A lilting and gentle Veni mater gracie/ Dou way Robin (Adel, Yorkshire, 1349); a harmonically interesting Sanctus (Fountains Abbey, c.1380); the extraordinary polyphony and resulting harmony in Doleo super te/ Absolon, fili me (Norwich, c. 1320); the touching, haunting, searing and intense  Novi sideris lumen resplenduit (Bury St. Edmunds, c.1280); the complex and subtle Pura, placens, pulcra/ Parfundement plure Absolon (Bury St. Edmunds, 14th c.) and the fluid Singularis laudis digna (Royal Chapel of Edward III, c.1350-60).

It's not all at this high standard, there are some less interesting monophonic music.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on August 09, 2016, 08:14:57 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571281476.png)

The  vigorous passion of Taverner's music is apparent in these performances of two masses by James O'Donnell and the Westminster Abbey Choir. For some reason the recording captures very well the idea of real human beings coming together to sing - each voice is so characterful you know that there's someone behind it, rather than a faceless blended sound.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on July 12, 2017, 08:53:39 PM
(https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fimages-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51rrqcYERqL.jpg&f=1)


The Clerkes of Oxenford sing Orlando Gibbons' hymns. David Wulstan was an academic who researched pitch in English church music, he argued that the pitch was high, In fact he argued that the written pitch sounded a minor third higher during this period than it does today. This idea is reflected in his recording, where he uses women with very boyish voices. This recordings is extremely beautiful and lyrical, serious and prayerful. A great joy.

Wulstan, by the way, provides the theoretical justification for Peter Philips' transpositions up of English choral music, including Missa Spinea Corona.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on July 12, 2017, 08:58:18 PM
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/NELPgupO5w8/maxresdefault.jpg)


I must say I am very impressed with this recording of Taverner's Missa Corona Spinea. The discussion above (and other reviews on Amazon) makes it sound as though the male voices have a really secondary role, but in fact they create some wonderful harmonies (again a surprise, just because Philips in Josquin is so timid about dissonances. But here, the harmonies are fabulously tangy!)

But more than this - and this shows he's a great musician IMO - the way he tells a story with the music is magic. The tempos are  slow, but you (I) don't notice the time passing at all, such is his mastery of the music's structure.

I like the relatively small ensemble too. The balance between ecstasy and control is wonderful too.

I have recently listened to this again, and to other recordings of the mass by The Edinburgh Cathedral Choir and by Kings College London Choir. My estimation of the performance and the music increases each time I revisit it. The balance of lower and upper voices is very effective, Taverner's parts are more clear in this recording than any other I've heard, and that's due to his transposition up I think. This is polyphonic music, and so it matters.

Just as importantly Peter Philips plays it more like a prayer than as music to dazzle the listener with virtuoso effects. That matters too!
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 21, 2017, 10:18:15 PM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/180/MI0001180937.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Rose Consort and Claire Wilinson perform Tallis, Byrd, Tomkins and Tye. There is a sort of composure to the way Clair Wilkinson and The Rose Consort of Viols make music, which I love.  Wilkinson is good, excellent, with the poetry: the articulation, and the colours in her voice, the strength of the tone she makes especially in lower registers, make the music sound as though it's meaningful and as though it matters. This IMO makes her a great vocalist, and she's got a tangy regional accent to boot, which makes the singing style sound more "authentic." . Rose Consort are distinguished not least because of the balance, the taut timbre and a certain calmness and nobility in their interpretations. There's a hushed intensity about the performances, and a strong sense of collaboration, which for me makes this a powerful recording.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on October 22, 2017, 03:52:46 AM
(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571281872.png)

John Sheppard (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA68187) is not as well known as the others mentioned in this thread, but he deserves mentioning. 

"Sheppard’s music explores a unique sound world. His stock-in-trade substitutions of the sixth degree of the chord for the 5th, harmonic false relations, soaringly high treble parts, insistent imitation, melodic outlines of unusual intervals, and particularly his love of burying plainchant melodies deep within the choral texture, are devices that can be found in many mid-Tudor composers. But no other composer uses combinations of these devices as strikingly or as memorably as Sheppard. His minimalistic method of wilfully chipping away at the same melodic motifs is the very antithesis of seamless polyphony. Sheppard wants you to hear what he’s up to. His huge musical arches are anything but divine. You can hear, even feel, them being built around you. And they are decorated with designs that more resemble improvised cartoons than carefully sculpted drawings. This is humanistic music through and through."
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on October 22, 2017, 03:55:57 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/180/MI0001180937.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Rose Consort and Claire Wilinson perform Tallis, Byrd, Tomkins and Tye. There is a sort of composure to the way Clair Wilkinson and The Rose Consort of Viols make music, which I love.  Wilkinson is good, excellent, with the poetry: the articulation, and the colours in her voice, the strength of the tone she makes especially in lower registers, make the music sound as though it's meaningful and as though it matters. This IMO makes her a great vocalist, and she's got a tangy regional accent to boot, which makes the singing style sound more "authentic." . Rose Consort are distinguished not least because of the balance, the taut timbre and a certain calmness and nobility in their interpretations. There's a hushed intensity about the performances, and a strong sense of collaboration, which for me makes this a powerful recording.

Claire Wilkinson is a wonderful singer.  Along with her work in the early music area, she has recorded one of the best "Pie Jesu" solos from the Durufle Requiem.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Biffo on October 22, 2017, 05:39:32 AM
(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571281872.png)

John Sheppard (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA68187) is not as well known as the others mentioned in this thread, but he deserves mentioning. 

This is a wonderful album, I bought it recently as a lossless download from Hyperion.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 22, 2017, 08:51:25 AM
I don't know that Hyperion recording. David Wulston with The Clerkes of Oxenford was a great champion of Sheppard, and I think his recordings of it, at least the ones I know, are very beautiful. I say "the ones I know" because I've never heard the late one he made for Proudsound, with music by Tye and Sheppard.

Apart from that, I just saw on Spotify that The Edinburgh Cathedral Choir have released a Sheppard CD, I'll check it out because I thought that their Taverner was outstanding.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: kishnevi on October 22, 2017, 08:56:30 AM
There seem to be a bunch of Sheppard recordings listed on Amazon.  The only ones I have are by the Tallis Scholars and Stile Antico.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 22, 2017, 09:21:12 AM
Amazingly this BBC interview with Wulstan is available still, at least in the UK

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01scxdg

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 24, 2017, 06:16:05 AM
Claire Wilkinson is a wonderful singer.  Along with her work in the early music area, she has recorded one of the best "Pie Jesu" solos from the Durufle Requiem.

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/757/MI0003757777.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

In her other English music CD with Rose Consort, Adoramus Te, there is possibly the most moving use of vibrato that I've ever heard, used sparingly and expressively, it creates a sense of great vulnerability. Eg in Byrd's song O Silly Soul.

One reason I'm posting about it is that the effect is completely ruined by the spotify transfer!
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on October 24, 2017, 06:27:13 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/757/MI0003757777.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

In her other English music CD with Rose Consort, Adoramus Te, there is possibly the most moving use of vibrato that I've ever heard, used sparingly and expressively, it creates a sense of great vulnerability. Eg in Byrd's song O Silly Soul.

One reason I'm posting an out it is that the effect is completely ruined by the spotify transfer!

The main reason I love her solo in the Durufle Requiem is because of her very minimal use of vibrato. 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on October 24, 2017, 07:10:02 AM
Off-topic but relevant to our recent discussion about Clare Wilkinson - the recording of the Duruflé Requiem, is this one:

(https://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/CHAN10357.jpg)

Wilkinson, Clare | Herford, Henry | Dawson, Catherine | Williams, Mark | Trinity College Choir, Cambridge | Marlow, Richard
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 25, 2017, 12:12:50 PM
(https://i0.wp.com/altocd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ALC-1015_cover.jpg?resize=430%2C430)

I think it was in 1974 that The Hilliard Ensemble produced this their first record, an anthology of English songs from the reign of Henry VII and Henry VIII, with The New London Consort. Composers such as Fayrfax, Cornysh and Sheryngham.

I am bowled over by the passion, the refinement and the sense of simplicity. And by the balance - not dominated by the countertenor David James - the dynamic control and the impeccable ensemble.

I suppose your first recording must be a special life-event. Hilliard give that impression here, by their intensity, their fervour and the fact that it sounds like they're happy, flourishing, making the music together.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on October 25, 2017, 12:29:18 PM
(https://i0.wp.com/altocd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ALC-1015_cover.jpg?resize=430%2C430)

I think it was in 1974 that The Hilliard Ensemble produced this their first record, an anthology of English songs from the reign of Henry VII and Henry VIII, with The New London Consort. Composers such as Fayrfax, Cornysh and Sheryngham.

I am bowled over by the passion, the refinement and the sense of simplicity. And by the balance - not dominated by the countertenor David James - the dynamic control and the impeccable ensemble.

I suppose your first recording must be a special life-event. Hilliard give that impression here, by their intensity, their fervour and the fact that it sounds like they're happy, flourishing, making the music together.

Yep, that's a good one.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 25, 2017, 09:53:42 PM
Hilliard began their career in 1974 with a recording of early English songs, and they ended their career with the same sort of music 40 years later with a release called Transeamus.

(http://player.ecmrecords.com/uploads/hilliard-transeamus/cover.jpg)

Different line up. And I don't hear the same freshness as I heard in the 1974. I hear nuance and intensity though. One of the reviewers on Amazon uses a word which seems spot on for Hilliard's later style - delicate.  That combination of rapt delicacy makes, for example, John Plumer's songs really magical things.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mr. Minnow on October 26, 2017, 11:03:26 AM
This is an interesting one, music from a manuscript thought to have been copied c.1200 which has survived, albeit in a pretty poor state, only because its pages were used as flyleaves for another book: 

(https://is1-ssl.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music/v4/6a/3a/50/6a3a5018-86d6-95b2-d847-77e3d5173d21/source/1200x630bb.jpg)


Samples and more detailed info here:

https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55297 (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55297)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mr. Minnow on October 26, 2017, 03:37:40 PM
Not sure if this is still available, as the Calliope label is apparently defunct, but it's well worth picking up if available at a reasonable price:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ZNMVNuizL._SX355_.jpg)

I hope the Ensemble Jachet de Mantoue are still around. They don't seem to have released a huge number of discs, but those they have released are excellent.

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on December 26, 2017, 02:22:12 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/770/MI0003770286.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

John Eliot Gardiner's achievement here is significant. He has managed to create a sound which is coherent and yet often  a sense of the singers' individuality is not lost. And he's managed to give interpretations which are for the most part unusually prayerful and intimate.

Pride of place for me goes to Robert White's Lamentations. I think (but I'm not sure) Gardiner has transposed the music up, following in the footsteps of Robert Woolstan. But his performance is more my cup of tea than Woolstan's, with his rather impersonal blend and less than state of the art recording.  And I like others, most especially The Cardinall's music. But Gardiner's disarming intimacy is very winning.

(The detailed review of the recording in Gramophone criticises the Lamentations, saying that the soloists seemed unable to "shape their lines effectively" and that the performance is hesitant and tentative. I must say I can't hear this, maybe what he hears as tentative I hear as intimate and confidential, but I'm not a professional.)

Similar things could be said for Byrd's Ne Irascaris Domine - I can't remember enjoying this piece as much elsewhere in fact.

The only slight  disappointment for me was Thomas Tomkins's Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom - which didn't efface the memory of Jeremy Summerly's performance at all.

(Annoyingly the Gramophone review liked that one, calling it a "ravishing vignette")
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mr. Minnow on December 28, 2017, 05:40:38 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/770/MI0003770286.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

John Eliot Gardiner's achievement here is significant. He has managed to create a sound which is coherent and yet often  a sense of the singers' individuality is not lost. And he's managed to give interpretations which are for the most part unusually prayerful and intimate.

Pride of place for me goes to Robert White's Lamentations. I think (but I'm not sure) Gardiner has transposed the music up, following in the footsteps of Robert Woolstan. But his performance is more my cup of tea than Woolstan's, with his rather impersonal blend and less than state of the art recording.  And I like others, most especially The Cardinall's music. But Gardiner's disarming intimacy is very winning.

(The detailed review of the recording in Gramophone criticises the Lamentations, saying that the soloists seemed unable to "shape their lines effectively" and that the performance is hesitant and tentative. I must say I can't hear this, maybe what he hears as tentative I hear as intimate and confidential, but I'm not a professional.)

Similar things could be said for Byrd's Ne Irascaris Domine - I can't remember enjoying this piece as much elsewhere in fact.

The only slight  disappointment for me was Thomas Tomkins's Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom - which didn't efface the memory of Jeremy Summerly's performance at all.

(Annoyingly the Gramophone review liked that one, calling it a "ravishing vignette")

Interesting, thanks for this. The samples I heard sounded almost Baroque in places, and having thought that, I then came across a review from Johan van Veen - http://www.musica-dei-donum.org/cd_reviews/Hyperion_CDA68038_Linn_CKD447_SDG_720.html (http://www.musica-dei-donum.org/cd_reviews/Hyperion_CDA68038_Linn_CKD447_SDG_720.html) - which says the same thing. Van Veen clearly does not approve of this, indeed he's highly critical of the disc. What do you think of his criticism? Do you think it's untrue, or that there is some truth to it but Gardiner makes it work? As you clearly like this disc I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, having read a review from someone who has a very different view. I've only heard the samples, which is better than nothing but obviously nothing like hearing full pieces.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on December 28, 2017, 11:27:39 PM
Here are some timings for the White Lamentations, which makes me think that Vreen hadn't put much time into that review. In fact, seeing the data like this maybe explains why I thought that Gallicantus was rushed.

Gallicantus - 17,04
Wulstan - 21,37
Nivel - 19, 52
Gardiner - 19,29
Tallis Scholars - 22,04
Cardinall's Musick - 20,08
Nordic Voices - 18,02

He may be right when he says that the sound lacks transparency and that it's sometimes hard to understand the words, it's a bit of a cliché comment that journalists often use when they have predisposition for smaller forces. But if Vreen is right I hadn't noticed and in the review he doesn't mention any examples in support. 

When you and Vreen say that the performances are too baroque, do you mean it's too expressive? I don't agree that it's too expressive, Renaissance music can be expressive (madrigalesque.) can't it, even English Renaissance music? I'm a bit at a loss to make sense of it. Anyway Gallicantus and Nordic Voices seem no less dramatic in the Lamentations than Gardiner to me! And I much prefer Gardiner's mode of expression to Gallicantus's (Gardiner's less operatic! More inward!)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on December 29, 2017, 12:12:32 AM
Here are some timings for the White Lamentations, which makes me think that Vreen hadn't put much time into that review. In fact, seeing the data like this maybe explains why I thought that Gallicantus was rushed.

Gallicantus - 17,04
Wulstan - 21,37
Nivel - 19, 52
Gardiner - 19,29
Tallis Scholars - 22,04
Cardinall's Musick - 20,08
Nordic Voices - 18,02

For me OVPP groups are usually quicker than choirs, especially if the choir were recorded in a church, i.e. a reverberant space.  I like Gardiner in Bach and haven't heard any pre-Baroque music from him other than his Pilgrimage series - which is irrelevant vis a vis the White music - and having not heard Gardiner's White recording I cannot make sense of your other comments.

Bottom line: Gallicantus does not sound rushed to me. 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mr. Minnow on December 29, 2017, 06:00:47 AM
Here are some timings for the White Lamentations, which makes me think that Vreen hadn't put much time into that review. In fact, seeing the data like this maybe explains why I thought that Gallicantus was rushed.

Gallicantus - 17,04
Wulstan - 21,37
Nivel - 19, 52
Gardiner - 19,29
Tallis Scholars - 22,04
Cardinall's Musick - 20,08
Nordic Voices - 18,02

He may be right when he says that the sound lacks transparency and that it's sometimes hard to understand the words, it's a bit of a cliché comment that journalists often use when they have predisposition for smaller forces. But if Vreen is right I hadn't noticed and in the review he doesn't mention any examples in support. 

When you and Vreen say that the performances are too baroque, do you mean it's too expressive? I don't agree that it's too expressive, Renaissance music can be expressive (madrigalesque.) can't it, even English Renaissance music? I'm a bit at a loss to make sense of it. Anyway Gallicantus and Nordic Voices seem no less dramatic in the Lamentations than Gardiner to me! And I much prefer Gardiner's mode of expression to Gallicantus's (Gardiner's less operatic! More inward!)


Thanks for the reply. I only have the samples to go on, which isn't much, but my impression of some of them - though certainly not all of them - was that they had the sort of much more overtly dramatic approach that is usually more associated with the Baroque rather than Renaissance polyphony. But that's just an impression based on samples, and I wouldn't claim that those samples are representative without hearing the whole disc. Of course Renaissance music can be expressive, very much so, but its expressive power seems to be of a different order to that of the Baroque. It's very hard to pin this sort of thing down; the only way I can think of to put it off the top of my head is that there is a restraint and austere quality to Renaissance polyphony, and paradoxically it's those qualities that can make it so powerfully expressive. The more dramatic approach of the Baroque is something quite different. I probably haven't put that particularly well, and no doubt there are all sorts of examples that don't fit in with this broad characterisation - as I said, this is just off the top of my head. But hopefully it gives at least some idea of what I meant by some samples sounding almost Baroque.     

Other reviews I've seen have mentioned that it's a more energetic and dramatic reading than most recordings of English Renaissance music as typified by the likes of the Tallis Scholars. I assume Van Veen had something like that in mind in his review. He says that Gardiner is not a specialist in this repertoire, which I take to mean that he thinks Gardiner has taken the sort of approach to performance he uses when recording Baroque music and simply applied it wholesale to this CD. I'm certainly tempted to get it, Van Veen notwithstanding, as it does sound like a different and potentially intriguing take on this music.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on December 29, 2017, 06:56:00 AM
Yes, well I guess all this discussion, which does seem to have focused in on some interesting areas, suggests that the Gardiner CD is at least an interesting and challenging one! One that makes you think about these sort of things . . .
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Musi
Post by: Mandryka on December 30, 2017, 11:00:23 AM
This is an interesting one, music from a manuscript thought to have been copied c.1200 which has survived, albeit in a pretty poor state, only because its pages were used as flyleaves for another book: 

(https://is1-ssl.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music/v4/6a/3a/50/6a3a5018-86d6-95b2-d847-77e3d5173d21/source/1200x630bb.jpg)


Samples and more detailed info here:

https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55297 (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55297)

This is a recording which at first seemed  too austere, and I kind of cursed you for mentioning it, but I was wrong, and  I've found that it really does repay repeated listening, and becomes, in a strange sort of way, a bit addictive and rather beautiful. Thanks for pointing it out.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Musi
Post by: Mr. Minnow on January 01, 2018, 12:09:07 PM
This is a recording which at first seemed  too austere, and I kind of cursed you for mentioning it, but I was wrong, and  I've found that it really does repay repeated listening, and becomes, in a strange sort of way, a bit addictive and rather beautiful. Thanks for pointing it out.

I'm glad you like it. I've yet to be disappointed by a Gothic Voices release. They also released a CD of English music of the 14th century:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/031/MI0001031381.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Samples here: https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55364 (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDH55364)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Musi
Post by: San Antone on January 01, 2018, 12:47:51 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/031/MI0001031381.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Good one.  I bought that one in 2016 along with most of Hyperion's early music catalog.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mr. Minnow on January 01, 2018, 05:46:04 PM
I haven't got round to playing it yet, but there's another Hyperion disc, released quite recently, which should be of great interest to anyone interested in this repertoire:

(https://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/52194928?wid=520&hei=520&fmt=pjpeg)

Samples and info here:  https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA68132 (https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA68132)



A couple of previous Orlando Consort CDs of early English music:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/194/MI0001194786.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Info:  http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/amr59.htm (http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/amr59.htm)




(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/063/MI0001063620.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Info:  http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/hmu7297.htm (http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/hmu7297.htm)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 02, 2018, 02:52:23 AM
One of my favourite recordings of English music by Gothic Voices is Vol 4 of The spirits of England and France, the Missa Caput. As indeed is the subsequent volume in the same series with the Missa Veterem Hominem . I think that Catherine King is a great asset - I think it's her singing in the masses, but I can't be sure at the moment (I'm not at home.)

I've spent quite a bit of time with those English music recording by Orlando recently, though not the latest one yet. I'm not sure what I think.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Musicn a
Post by: Mandryka on January 05, 2018, 07:23:56 AM
(http://www.blueheron.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/60972800274_Frontcover-300x300.jpg)   (https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0003/091/MI0003091909.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I've started to listen to this live Christmas music CD from Blue Heron, it's worth hearing. I'll just mention one thing that got me thinking. It contains two mass movements from the Missa Ventrem Hominem, an anonymous C14 mass, and the contrast with Christopher Page's performance is really interesting. Scott Metcalfe is much much more sensual and expressive, they take 2 minutes longer in the Sanctus for example. It probably wouldn't be fair, but it's tempting nonetheless, to say that Gothic Voices are too preoccupied with energetic forward motion and the result is a relatively glib interpretation - I leave it to others to come to their defence. Page's sound is also more homogeneous, less of a sense of individuals, I'd say.  And the textures they create seem less contrasted.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 06, 2018, 11:16:32 PM






(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/063/MI0001063620.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Info:  http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/hmu7297.htm (http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/hmu7297.htm)


I've spent quite a bit of time with those English music recording by Orlando recently, though not the latest one yet. I'm not sure what I think.

I'm now a bit clearer what I think of Call of the Phoenix.

The first thing to say is that the selection for the CD is fabulous and much of it not available elsewhere. I especially valued the religious music by John Bennet and the first anonymous piece called Stella Celi. But really the whole CD is a good listen. I'm glad to know it.

The performances are full of life, and it's interesting to look at how they give them life. My hypothesis is that Orlando Consort's idea is that English music of this period derives its tension from rhythm rather than harmony. It's not dissonances which draw our attention in the performances, it's the clear and changing rhythms. This inscisive rhythmic sensibility  is combined with a leaning towards relatively fast pulses and not much by way of expressive embellishment through dynamics or timbre. It was a contrast with Hilliard Ensemble mainly, where they've recorded the same music, which helped me to see this - The Plummer, Fry and the Dunstable are examples.

This is something which, I propose, Orlando Consort share with Gothic Voices. When I posted about Gothic Voices' Missa Ventrem Hominem I suggested that what they do misses a trick of two from the point of view of expression. And I believe that there's greater expressive possibilities in the music on Call of the Phoenix than Orlando Consort are open to. Nevertheless I don't want to be taken for believing that Hilliard's accounts are better, especially because some of them are on their final CD called Transeamus, and I have some reservations about this recording. I just propose that the Hilliard approach is different and shows a good deal of potential.

From this point of view it's a really interesting exercise to listen to three versions of Plummer's Anna Mater Matis - Orlando and the two from Hilliard, one on Transeamus (very late Hilliard) and one on  their Medieval English Music
 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 09, 2018, 12:49:01 PM
(http://www.sequentia.org/images/recordings/english_songs_m.jpg)

A warm and friendly, relaxing, recording of very early English music from Sequentia, very much in the style of Studio der Frühen Musik I think - without Andrea von Ramm's characterful voice of course. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

(I'm annoyed to have missed them in Paris last year, but I just noticed that they'll be in Antwerp in Summer and I'd quite like to revisit that city, which I haven't seen for 20 years at least, so maybe . . . )
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 18, 2018, 10:48:28 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/477/MI0003477834.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

This "Binchois Consort" recording of early C15 music is proving to be one of the most interesting of its kind that I know. At its heart is an anonymous mass (quem malignus spiritus)  which, I think, has not been recorded elsewhere. It's music of great nobility and interiority, I'm going to stick my neck out and say the mass is a real masterpiece.

Other polyphonic highlights include a couple of delightful isorhytmic motets by Nicholas Sturgeon and Thomas Damett - I know nothing else about these composers. But the mass is the star.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on January 18, 2018, 10:57:28 AM

This "Binchois Consort" recording of early C15 music is proving to be one of the most interesting of its kind that I know. At its heart is an anonymous mass (quem malignus spiritus)  which, I think, has not been recorded elsewhere. It's music of great nobility and interiority, I'm going to stick my neck out and say the mass is a real masterpiece.

Other polyphonic highlights include a couple of delightful isorhytmic motets by Nicholas Sturgeon and Thomas Damett - I know nothing else about these composers. But the mass is the star.

I like it - absolutely great recording.  :)


Q


Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 19, 2018, 11:20:56 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71GQjkmrUDL._SL1096_.jpg)   (https://img.cdandlp.com/2017/01/imgL/118484857-2.jpg)

There are, as far as I know, just two recordings of Leonal Power's cyclic mass Alma Redemptoris Mater - the one above from Trio Mediaeval and one on Hilliard Endemble's CD dedicated to Power's music. Hilliard's performance is forceful, and there's a feeling of power and stroppiness, like the music for the grail knights in the last act of Parsifal. I like this stroppy way of singing Power, its unexpected! Trio Mediaeval take it more slowly and are much more open to the sensual and expressive possibilities of the music. They're helped in this by a sparingly applied discrete vibrato which I think is effective. Their voices are balanced very well, and complement each other to produce a coherent sound without sacrificing individuality. THe combination of equal prominence of all the voices and more leisurely speeds brings out the contrapuntal cleverness of the music more clearly than Hilliard.  I like what Trio Mediaeval  do very much, they let me enjoy the scenery.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: kishnevi on January 20, 2018, 01:14:49 PM
The Hilliards recorded the Old Hall Manuscript, which includes three pieces by Power (about ten minutes worth).
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-9Emb531L.jpg)
There's apparently one other recording of the OHM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81w5yS1L1oL.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mahlerian on January 20, 2018, 01:16:06 PM
The Hilliards recorded the Old Hall Manuscript, which includes three pieces by Power (about ten minutes worth).
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-9Emb531L.jpg)

Both this and the Power recording mentioned by Mandryka above are available in this excellent box set:

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 20, 2018, 11:38:02 PM
The Hilliards recorded the Old Hall Manuscript, which includes three pieces by Power (about ten minutes worth).
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-9Emb531L.jpg)
There's apparently one other recording of the OHM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81w5yS1L1oL.jpg)

I was listenening to some of that recording of OHM from Hilliard a couple of days ago because a motet by John Forest got my attention on Binchois Consort's "100 years war" recording,  Ascendit Christus. I recommend the Binchois Consort recording to you, by the way, I think they're really on good form at the moment.

Slowly I'm getting more of a feel for these English composers who so influenced Ockeghem and Dufay.

There's lots of bits of Leonal Power dotted around from Binchois Consort and Gothic Voices. Even Deller paid lip service and recorded a mass movement, as has Blue Heron and Orlando Consort,
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 21, 2018, 12:05:14 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vJ65Cxp6L._SX425_.jpg)

I just want to report that I've been really enjoying this recording based around Ludford's Missa Videte Miruculum from The Cardinall's Musick. It's maybe not Ludford's most striking mass, but I find that it is lovely to hear it in the context of the chant that Carwood interleaves with the polyphonic music. Somehow the contrast enhances both, and the transitions are evocative.  It's a mass which really benefits from its context somehow.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Biffo on January 21, 2018, 03:34:52 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/477/MI0003477834.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

This "Binchois Consort" recording of early C15 music is proving to be one of the most interesting of its kind that I know. At its heart is an anonymous mass (quem malignus spiritus)  which, I think, has not been recorded elsewhere. It's music of great nobility and interiority, I'm going to stick my neck out and say the mass is a real masterpiece.

Other polyphonic highlights include a couple of delightful isorhytmic motets by Nicholas Sturgeon and Thomas Damett - I know nothing else about these composers. But the mass is the star.

The Binchois Consort have also recorded 'Music for the Hundred Years' War' (Hyperion). It has works from 1380-1520 with John Dunstaple being the main contributor. It has a section for the coronation of Henry VI but I don't know if there is any overlap with the album above .
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 21, 2018, 06:30:57 AM
The Binchois Consort have also recorded 'Music for the Hundred Years' War' (Hyperion). It has works from 1380-1520 with John Dunstaple being the main contributor. It has a section for the coronation of Henry VI but I don't know if there is any overlap with the album above .

No overlap.

 The 100 Years War CD contains amongst other things a sequence of three movements from the ordinarium by Dunstaple, not as far as I know intended to be performed cyclically.

The Kyrie is completely new to me unless I'm forgetting, maybe it hasn't been recorded elsewhere. Their approach is more fluid than Hilliard, less expressive in the voicing and harmonies  than Tonus Peregrinus. Their sound is quite extrovert, big, rich and in your face, as if the mass were being performed more for a state occasion than for intimate prayer.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: kishnevi on January 21, 2018, 08:44:23 AM
I was listenening to some of that recording of OHM from Hilliard a couple of days ago because a motet by John Forest got my attention on Binchois Consort's "100 years war" recording,  Ascendit Christus. I recommend the Binchois Consort recording to you, by the way, I think they're really on good form at the moment.

Slowly I'm getting more of a feel for these English composers who so influenced Ockeghem and Dufay.

There's lots of bits of Leonal Power dotted around from Binchois Consort and Gothic Voices. Even Deller paid lip service and recorded a mass movement, as has Blue Heron and Orlando Consort,

I've got some Gothic Voices CDs....I'll have to root around and see what I do and don't have.  The others I don't have.

I got this last week


I found the harmony a bit too sweet for my taste.  Don't know if that is a characteristic of Dunstable or just a quality of that particular performance. Has anyone heard these two CDs?


Amazon's listing for that says Dunstable is included, but the track listing, such as it is, doesn't identify which is which ("Flos regalis" and "Speciosa", I am guessing, because of one of the reviews.)


Which is all Dunstable.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 21, 2018, 09:06:33 AM


I got this last week


I found the harmony a bit too sweet for my taste.  Don't know if that is a characteristic of Dunstable or just a quality of that particular performance.

A quality of that particular recording is that it's got a soaring voice, I like it very much. How much sweetness is intrinsic to Dunstable is an interesting question, I'm not sure about the answer -- I think part of what the folks in Belgium found interesting about Dunstable was to do with a way of avoiding dissonances, but I'm not sure at all.

Has anyone heard these two CDs?


Amazon's listing for that says Dunstable is included, but the track listing, such as it is, doesn't identify which is which ("Flos regalis" and "Speciosa", I am guessing, because of one of the reviews.)


Which is all Dunstabe


Yes I've heard both and both are worth hearing. Both of them are impressive, but you should be able to sample them very thoroughly for yourself via spotify.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mahlerian on January 21, 2018, 09:09:50 AM
A quality of that particular recording is that it's got a soaring voice, I like it very much. How much sweetness is intrinsic to Dunstable is an interesting question, I'm not sure about the answer -- I think part of what the folks in Belgium found interesting about Dunstable was to do with a way of avoiding dissonances, but I'm not sure at all.

Wasn't he one of the first composers to treat thirds as a consonance rather than a dissonance?  The "sweetness" in question has to do with the use of what we today would consider triads, right?
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 21, 2018, 09:11:40 AM
Wasn't he one of the first composers to treat thirds as a consonance rather than a dissonance?  The "sweetness" in question has to do with the use of what we today would consider triads, right?

I don't know, I've never been able to get clear on this.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on February 19, 2018, 12:53:46 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51-n0Z8vUDL.jpg)

Van Nevel plays Thomas's Ashewell's Missa "Ave Maria." Bloody hell, this is strange music, almost as much dissonance as Gesualdo! This is my first encounter with Ashewell, if anyone knows any other recordings of his music please let me know.

(I think this is a rather good CD by the way.)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: North Star on February 19, 2018, 02:10:43 PM
It's a very good disc indeed. This crops up on Amazon, I haven't heard it.

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on February 19, 2018, 10:21:37 PM
Some I know has suggested that the sound of the Ashewell mass on Nevel's recording is so unusual that it must be due to a scribe's error in the source, or a misreading of the score, I don't have the booklet to the CD so I don't know if Nevel discusses it.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on February 19, 2018, 11:00:15 PM
.


Some I know has suggested that the sound of the Ashewell mass on Nevel's recording is so unusual that it must be due to a scribe's error in the source, or a misreading of the score, I don't have the booklet to the CD so I don't know if Nevel discusses it.

I was rather impressed by the Ashewell.  :)

What dou you find so unusual about it, and why would that be an error? 

I'll check the booklet....


Q
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on February 20, 2018, 02:51:36 AM
There's not much out there for Thomas Ashewell other than the Nevel recording.  Seems the spelling of his last name is found with or without the first "e".  There's this recording by Christ Church Cathedral Choir, coupled with another under-recorded English composer, Hugh Aston.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613ZN2pfghL._SS500.jpg)

Thomas Ashwell : Missa Jesu Christe
Hugh Aston : Missa Videte manus meas

I also found this by Graindelavoix on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/v/CH1QzyANB5g

I am interested in hearing more, though.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on February 20, 2018, 12:42:29 PM
.


I was rather impressed by the Ashewell.  :)

What dou you find so unusual about it, and why would that be an error? 

I'll check the booklet....


Q

I was very happy to discover Ashewell,  it's the sheer quantity of unusual unexpected harmonies which surprised me so much. I think that the idea was that the extraordinary harmonic language is unlikely to have been intentional in English music of this period.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on February 20, 2018, 12:44:41 PM
There's not much out there for Thomas Ashewell other than the Nevel recording.  Seems the spelling of his last name is found with or without the first "e".  There's this recording by Christ Church Cathedral Choir, coupled with another under-recorded English composer, Hugh Aston.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613ZN2pfghL._SS500.jpg)

Thomas Ashwell : Missa Jesu Christe
Hugh Aston : Missa Videte manus meas
.

This will be an essential thing to listen to  for me, since I've also enjoyed what little I've heard of Hugh Aston. I can see it's on Qobuz, badly tagged.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on May 14, 2018, 03:31:24 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81FiPxKKdLL._SY355_.jpg)

What is this emotion in the Agnus Dei? My overwhelming sensation on hearing this Ludford mass by James O'Donnell was of something very expressive and completely ineffable.

The emotional structure is extraordinary too. What I mean is that the whole thing is like a tense arc which finds its ecstatic summit in the Benedictus, where noble intensity gives way for a moment to noble ecstasy.

There's lots of other stuff on the recording apart from the mass, which I'm not ready to comment on yet. I just thought the mass was so very special that I'd write this now before I forget - not that it's possible to forget music and music making like this.

Kids' choir, very good kids' choir. Large choir, but this isn't virtuoso music making at all - it's a group prayer, not a group show-off session or a group thrill-the-audience trip. THe contrast between boys' and men's voices 
is very effective at times. Beautifully balanced. Anonymous impersional singing in the British way. Good sound quality.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on September 17, 2018, 03:18:52 AM
(https://i.ndcd.net/13/Item/500/460043.jpg)

Graindelavoix do English Music, interesting that Schmelzer chose Ashwell.

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?

Quote
The fact that this mass is written for the Feast of the Annunciation creates other interesting musical implications. This Feast is probably the most impor- tant acoustical event of Christianity: the Angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary and announces that she will conceive and give birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Theologians often came up with virtuosic explanations designed to make the mystery as acceptable as possible, inventing the idea of a con- ceptio per aurem, a conception through the ear. In this sense, it is not far-fetched to be able to understand how Ashwell turned the conception itself – secundum imaginationem – into a psycho-acoustic event. Is it not this mystery, which would allow for the extreme writing with so many weird leaps, syncopations, dis- sonance, etc.?

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

Quote
Maybe there is an interesting precedent here, in the motet Gaude Virgo by Guillaume Dufay, com- posed more than fifty years beforehand, probably in Italy. The first strophe of this hymn is: “Gaude Virgo, mater Christi, quae per aurem concepisti, Gabriele nuntio.” The composition as transmitted seems to be an impossibility for musicologists because the combi- nation of the four voices produces harsh clashes and inexplicable dissonants. It is believed that the lowest fourth voice cannot be by Dufay and was added later. Even if this voice proves not to be by Dufay himself, shouldn’t we understand this addition as a means to make the mystery of the Incarnation audible, making it material in its embodied sfumato-like rendition?

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

Quote
En Albion de fluns environen - musique anglaise du XIVème siècle
En Albion de fluns environen – English music of the 14th century
Thanks to key manuscripts, such as the Chantilly Codex, continental music of the 14th century has already been rediscovered and become relatively well known. The same, however, cannot be said of the “crazy” 14th century in England, that is very much overdue the attention it deserves. With this programme the Huelgas Ensemble unlocks a completely unknown, yet highly impressive repertoire found in manuscripts from the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Worcester, York and London. It is clear, from the selection of isorhythmic motets, mass movements, conducti, gymel and secular songs, that here we are dealing with a highly idiosyncratic art form. The source of this music is often rooted in local traditions, which might go some way to explaining why this culture was, and indeed is, so little known in the rest of Europe.
This programme was recorded in april 2017 for Sony.
Line-up: mixed instruments and singers

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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: (: premont :) on September 17, 2018, 12:37:48 PM
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.

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


Thanks, you present a convincing case, so I have downloaded it from Presto. I suppose I need the Nevel recording too.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on September 17, 2018, 08:35:36 PM

Thanks, you present a convincing case, so I have downloaded it from Presto. I suppose I need the Nevel recording too.

I can strongly recommend the Van Nevel:




Pity if Schmelzer did the same Ashwell mass though.... I personally don't need another performance..... ::)

Q
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 04, 2018, 06:23:46 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51kwL01bFbL._SX300_QL70_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: DaveF 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Biffo 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!
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Traverso on October 05, 2018, 07:46:55 AM
I have this one and I love it.

(https://i.postimg.cc/XqBXZfDj/s_l1000_2_2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zB59H8tV/MI0001142889.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka 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.

https://www.youtube.com/v/S8_5BhCE_lM

I like Carine Tinney's voice -- I think that's who it is.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: DaveF 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone 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:

https://www.youtube.com/v/CH1QzyANB5g

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. 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on November 03, 2018, 02:37:42 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81iokv6vMhL._SY355_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81dKllBUkmL._SY355_.jpg) (https://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/GUEST_373c780d-1cdb-486d-a3d4-2110f00e7a68?wid=488&hei=488&fmt=pjpeg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-9Emb531L._SY355_.jpg)

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.

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: JBS 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: JBS 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....
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone 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.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61mqyiAuuqL._SY355_.jpg)

It would be great if Blue Heron would record the Eton Choirbook as they have with the Peterhouse set.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: JBS 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
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: JBS 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.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 09, 2019, 05:59:22 AM
(https://thumbs.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mikkPbcfZzvtPWU8yB3zIdQ.jpg)

This was the first recording which The Clerks of Oxenford ever made, and as such it has a really important status in the reception of early music post war -- this was the group which spawned the careers and styles of The Magnificat Ensemble, The Tallis Scholars and others. But there's plenty of other reasons to get to know it, and in a way more important ones.

I have been totally knocked out by what they do on this download. There's a combination of passion and freshness and simplicity which, as far as I can think, has never been found again in this repertoire on record by them or anyone else.

Above all their mastery of the opposition between, on the one hand,  the places where the music pauses for breath, rests to let is savour the beauty. and on the one hand,  the movement forward, the way the melodies just slip and glide forward. And all of this with a totally coherent, unified and beautiful tone and timbre.

This is a treasure of a recording.

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on January 13, 2019, 02:08:16 AM
Crosspost from the WAYLT thread:


This is very good, but I'm not completely won over....
As Johan van Veen points out in his review below, Skinner's reasoning behind the tinkering with the (Tudor) pitch of several of the motets to create a better transition from one motet to the next, is flawed. These motets were printed a a showpiece collection, not necessarily/probably not/obviously not to be performed as a unified sequence.

Anyway, Skinner uses one or two voices per part. To my ears the result occasionally lacks some clarity and sounds a bit murky. Whether this is due to performance, the transposition issue or acoustics (too large a venue?), I'm not sure. I also miss at times a certain directness in the perfomance style - when it sounds overly laboured, which makes it hard to connect to the music on an emotional level. "Bloodless", is term the Amazon reviewer uses, presuming we're thinking of the same...

These reservations aside, which vary noticeably from motet to motet,  this is a quite an enjoyable set with a performance style that makes a lot of steps in the right direction.
 
http://www.musica-dei-donum.org/cd_reviews/Obsidian_CD706.html
https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/byrd-tallis-cantiones-sacrae
http://www.classical-music.com/review/complete-cantiones-sacrae-1575

Q
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on March 18, 2019, 03:51:52 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/998/MI0000998207.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

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.

Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2019, 07:45:13 AM
(https://www3.hbdirect.com/coverm/16/282416.jpg)

This is a very fine CD. Initially I was a bit put off by Suzie Le Blanc's voice, which I thought was a bit Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews.) And while it's true that she does have a bit of that character, and that she's singing this music in a way which isn't too far from the way she might sing Schubert, she's very expressive and the timbre is very beautiful. A taste I had to acquire and now that I have, I'm glad that I did.

To be honest, the first time I heard her sing Tobias Hume's Cease Leaden Slumber, I was knocked out by the intensity and the eloquence of what she makes of the music. A moment I won't forget in a hurry, that.

(Although comparative listening can be unrewarding, I'll just comment for those that way inclined that Cease Leaden Slumber on the Tobias Hume Cds recorded on Naxos, with Paul Audet,  is a fascinating contrast from the vocal point of view. Chalk and cheese. )

The two viol players are in particularly fine fettle, I'll write something about what they do on this recording in the thread on English  instrumental music. It would be wrong to suggest that Le Blanc is the star -- they're all very starry!

It sounds great (especially through my new amp, a Krell KSA50 - maybe that's why I'm feeling so positive, and maybe why I like Le Blanc's timbre more now. All reviewers should mention the equipment they use because it makes such an enormous difference to what you hear -- that's fact not opinion.)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on May 20, 2019, 11:20:45 AM
(http://www.sequentia.org/images/recordings/english_songs_m.jpg)

A warm and friendly, relaxing, recording of very early English music from Sequentia, very much in the style of Studio der Frühen Musik I think - without Andrea von Ramm's characterful voice of course. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

(I'm annoyed to have missed them in Paris last year, but I just noticed that they'll be in Antwerp in Summer and I'd quite like to revisit that city, which I haven't seen for 20 years at least, so maybe . . . )

Revisiting this with a year’s more water under the bridge, it sounds like the best recording of Very Early English Music that I’ve ever heard, the way they use bowed instruments to support vocalists in monophony  is specially poignant: that’s quite an achievement because some of the songs for one singer are long and have a repetitive structure and you can’t understand the words. The  singers - women and men - all manage to make the words sound like meaningful, expressive poetry.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on May 20, 2019, 12:08:24 PM
Revisiting this with a year’s more water under the bridge, it sounds like the best recording of Very Early English Music that I’ve ever heard, the way they use bowed instruments to support vocalists in monophony  is specially poignant: that’s quite an achievement because some of the songs for one singer are long and have a repetitive structure and you can’t understand the words. The  singers - women and men - all manage to make the words sound like meaningful, expressive poetry.

Is Sequentia an all-female group?
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2019, 03:30:43 PM
Is Sequentia an all-female group?

No, they’re not:

(https://www.sequentia.org/images/photos/sequentia7.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 03, 2019, 03:42:08 AM
Can I just draw everyone’s attention to an absolutely drop dead gorgeous anonymous mass cycle here, Quem malignus spiritus.

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/217/MI0003217572.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

There’s just too much music that’s worth hearing!
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on June 03, 2019, 09:54:12 AM
Can I just draw everyone’s attention to an absolutely drop dead gorgeous anonymous mass cycle here, Quem malignus spiritus.

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/217/MI0003217572.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

There’s just too much music that’s worth hearing!

Love that recording.  :)

Q
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 03, 2019, 10:24:32 AM
it was only when I played the cycle without interruption, without intervening motets etc, that I appreciated the quality of the music. And to think that it’s anonymous, the music that was being written in England at the time was amazing, no wonder it had such a big impact on the continent.

That inaugural lecture by Kirkman I posted somewhere alerted me to it, it’s well worth reading when you have the time.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 03, 2019, 08:22:00 PM
I’m not sure if all Frye’s known complete mass cycles have been recorded or not. I have managed to find the following:

Missa Nobilis et Pulchra - Binchois Consort, Cappella Cordina
Missa Flos Regalis - Clerks Group, Hilliard, Binchois Consort,
Missa Suma Trinitati - Binchois Consort, Ferrara Ensemble


Has anyone explored these masses? I wonder which are earlier, which are later. Are there extant unrecorded Frye mass cycles?
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 04, 2019, 07:59:16 AM
(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/thumbs_550/034571282749.png)

I’ve rearranged the tracks to hear the Frye noble and beautiful mass Nobililis et Pulchra, I don’t know if it’s just my mood this rainy Tuesday afternoon, but the much of the music seems very melancholy and inward. Maybe he’s a psychological composer, using music to paint dark ineffable moods.  It certainly is disturbingly expressive. I’ve always found Frye’s church music challenging, not least this mass.

A  lot of the time it sounds as though they’ve put two singers on a voice, I wonder if there’s a way of doing it which would create more texture variety - there’s rhythm variety aplenty, but the textures sound a bit uniform. Maybe inevitable with three part music, maybe not.

In the booklet Kirkman and Philip Weller compare it to the anonymous Quem malignus spiritus mass I was listening to yesterday, but either my memory is completely fooling me or the similarities are so deep in the structure I missed them., I’ll check later.

Another thing,  from memory so maybe not accurate - this sounds different from the exuberant three voice Frye mass Summe Trinitate that Kirkman recorded, on A Marriage of England and Burgundy. I don’t just mean the mood, I mean the sound of the singers. I feel rather more attracted by the melancholy one at the moment!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61nnW1eg%2BdL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Que on June 04, 2019, 08:54:16 PM
I’m not sure if all Frye’s known complete mass cycles have been recorded or not. I have managed to find the following:

Missa Nobilis et Pulchra - Binchois Consort, Cappella Cordina
Missa Flos Regalis - Clerks Group, Hilliard, Binchois Consort,
Missa Suma Trinitati - Binchois Consort


Has anyone explored these masses? I wonder which are earlier, which are later. Are there extant unrecorded Frye mass cycles?

I share your interest in Frye.  :)

Recently I came across this:



Q
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: San Antone on June 04, 2019, 09:37:06 PM
There's also this one by The Hilliard Ensemble, from 1993, I think.

(https://ecmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/walter-frye1.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 05:22:15 AM
I’m not sure if all Frye’s known complete mass cycles have been recorded or not. I have managed to find the following:

Missa Nobilis et Pulchra - Binchois Consort, Cappella Cordina
Missa Flos Regalis - Clerks Group, Hilliard, Binchois Consort,
Missa Suma Trinitati - Binchois Consort


Has anyone explored these masses? I wonder which are earlier, which are later. Are there extant unrecorded Frye mass cycles?

And the Agnus Dei from the Flos Regalis mass here

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91E%2BllWVAIL._SX342_.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 06:11:12 AM
I share your interest in Frye.  :)

Recently I came across this:



Q

Oh yes, I have it but hadn’t noticed that it says on the cover « Music of Walter Frye »

It has the Suma Trinitati mass, so I’ll amend the list. But even more interesting is the other mass which they’ve called  Sine Nomine. Does anyone know who wrote this? His English wiki just says. Maybe you or Premont has the booklet to check, I don’t.

Quote
Three masses have survived more or less complete: the Missa Flos Regalis (for four voices), Missa Nobilis et Pulchra (three voices), and the Missa Summe Trinitati (also for three voices).

Added - I see that the attribution is questioned here

http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/mae20018.htm
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on June 24, 2019, 08:21:43 PM
(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/ja/3x/ftrfipxk03xja_600.jpg)

Come Sorrow, named after a song by Robert Jones, by Ensemble Près de votre oreille, formed especially for the recording.

Completely strapped to my seat by this one, gobsmacked. It comes out of the encounter with an Elizabethan edition which contains music for two voices, lute and viol as an ensemble. Once again we see that meticulous care about instruments is paying off, both the lute ans viol being designed to specifically meet the demands of the tablatures. As does meticulous care about making sense of the manuscript, which was, apparently, difficult to decipher.

The singers, male and female really contrast, the man rich like liquorice and the woman makes a noise which is like being showered with diamonds. The whole group work brilliantly together. The music is rare and rich, expressive.  Once you start to listen you can’t stop, you have been warned.

The violist, Robin Pharo, who spearheaded the initiative, was a student of Sigiswald Kuijken and is well known to me through a recording, a revealing and sensitive recording, of music by Charles Dollé. He also works with a quartet called Nevermind. He’s someone to watch.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on July 27, 2019, 11:53:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41nhAS0zvjL._SY355_.jpg)

Successful Hilliard recording here, I can’t say much more than that it’s beautiful gentle singing articulated in a way which grabs your attention and excites your imagination even in monophonic incomprehensible songs a cappella. A mixture of sacred and secular music inspired by the idea that in England at that time the border between sacred and profane was porous in a way I don’t fully understand, but I bet it’s true!

This may well be the best (extremely) early English vocal music CD I know, given my expectations/values etc. Though I see I say that quite often - re Sequentia above. I’m clearly very fickle. I’m sure in some sort of logic there can be two bests.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on August 11, 2019, 06:29:10 AM
Eton Choir Book concert with Cappella Pratensis/Rebecca Stewart going for the taking here, it is everything you'd expect if you know their style from this time.

http://classicalmusicinconcert.blogspot.com/search/label/Cappella%20Pratensis
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on September 27, 2019, 07:37:24 AM
(https://www.gramophone.co.uk/sites/default/files/styles/6_columns_wide/public/media-thumbnails/taverner_mass.jpg?itok=pgb5-vkH)


Rees/Oxford Queens/Taverner Missa Tibi Trinitas. Can’t believe I’m back to mass cycles, but I am. And this is interesting for two reasons. First, it’s slow, meditative, and that's how I like it. This interpretation is that rare thing, the unification of flamboyant music and spiritual music, Les Goûts Réunis! And second, because of the extreme contrast between full massed choral sections and OVPP sections. The austerity of the OVPP singing seems to augment the glory of the big choral parts, so I’d say the approach has come off well. Rees, by the way, asserts in the booklet that this OVPP treatment is just what Taverner was expecting.

I don’t think I’d forgotten how wonderful a composer Taverner is, but it’s one thing to remember it, another thing to experience it again listening to the music.

Well recorded, but no sense of room - I think some people prefer that.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on October 24, 2019, 04:54:57 AM
(https://img.cdandlp.com/2018/07/imgL/119245195.jpg).   (https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81vJd6wLRRL._SS500_.jpg)

I first came across this recording of Dunstable and Ockeghem by Safford Cape’s Pro Musica Antiqua while  exploring recordings of Ma bouche rit.

The vocality of the singing is totally wrong by today’s standards, they make sounds more appropriate in a Bruckner mass than a Dunstable song. And the recorded quality is what it is - it’s perfectly listenable.

But the performances! The performances! These are such impassioned, committed, tender interpretations that all reservations are completely forgotten about when you listen,  this is music making of the highest order.

Transfered by Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Interestingly, they sing quite a few songs a cappella and indeed where they use instruments, they do so in a way which seems prima facie consistent with today’s best practice.
Title: I think and assumed, English composers of 15th century are a bit underground?
Post by: deprofundis on November 22, 2019, 04:38:29 AM
Hello ladies & gentelmen!

Im happy to present to you the next following post English polyphony of 15th century.

I started noticing it a while ago, more so than before, people mostly know Thomas Tallis &
of course John Dunstable perhaps William Fryes, but that it.

But there is more to this actually, I wont mention countless composers, but mention what i find outstanding like Thomas Ashwell, Robert White(his lamentations wow, on a Japanese Import) I have this in vinyl.Hugh Aston (Marian motets). Underground I said since beside e Blue Heron ensemble, only a few care about  early English polyphony.I could have name ya plenty of composer that were less productive and still interesting, but sad for me, my Cd and vinyl collection as no end,  it would be a pain to locate all  of these  less prolific composer that did cameo on compilation.

What I think is we should  acknowledge  them more and something else did you guys notice something odd, the polyphony of great English  is similar to Portuguese in format or something?

You should trust me when I say there more to English music than: Tallis, Dunstable.

Another thing i might add up I have almost all if not album of Tallis Scholars ensemble, I need to revisited them. English composers for some are drab, well actually some of them are less interesting but dig for outstanding ones, you may find pearls of a works among them.

If early English polyphony would had never happen, we would not have the genie of Franco-Flemish music of 16th century and Italian great names of 17th century.

What your cue on this, what are England best kept secret in your mind...?

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy my posts

Title: Re: I think and assumed, English composers of 15th century are a bit underground?
Post by: Mandryka on November 22, 2019, 06:09:19 AM
There was a recent recording of music by Frye and Dunstable released by Andrew Kirkman/Binchois Consort with music by Frye and Dunstable, it has become a great favourite of mine, it’s called Music for St Katherine. Good also, stimulating, is the recording with Ashwell from Bjorn Schmelzer/Graindelavoix - Paul Nevel/Huelgas Ensemble has also done interesting things with Ashwell, and I know he’s interested in the British Medieval avant garde.


There’s a thread on this stuff somewhere, called Early English Vocal Music, with lots of hidden treasures brought to light.
Title: Re: I think and assumed, English composers of 15th century are a bit underground?
Post by: DaveF on November 22, 2019, 02:31:13 PM
I started noticing it a while ago, more so than before, people mostly know Thomas Tallis & of course John Dunstable perhaps William Fryes, but that it.

If early English polyphony would had never happen, we would not have the genie of Franco-Flemish music of 16th century and Italian great names of 17th century.

Walter Frye, possibly?

And much as I love early English music, I regret to have to disagree with your second point.  Dunstaple and his "frisque concordance" were much admired in France in his time, but the current of development European music is generally seen as going from Machaut through Du Fay and Binchois to Ockeghem and Josquin and so to Morales and Palestrina.  Anywhere, in fact, other than through these isles.  Composers such as Browne, Carver and Fayrfax (three of my musical gods, BTW) were entirely insular and had zero influence on this development.  The first British composer who had really caught up with his European contemporaries in terms of technique was Byrd.  I don't know what Mandryka thinks of this - he will have an educated opinion as he, like you, also knows everything about music from Gregorian to Renaissance.
Title: Re: I think and assumed, English composers of 15th century are a bit underground?
Post by: JohnP on November 25, 2019, 02:36:12 AM
Walter Frye, possibly?

And much as I love early English music, I regret to have to disagree with your second point.  Dunstaple and his "frisque concordance" were much admired in France in his time, but the current of development European music is generally seen as going from Machaut through Du Fay and Binchois to Ockeghem and Josquin and so to Morales and Palestrina.  Anywhere, in fact, other than through these isles.  Composers such as Browne, Carver and Fayrfax (three of my musical gods, BTW) were entirely insular and had zero influence on this development.  The first British composer who had really caught up with his European contemporaries in terms of technique was Byrd.  I don't know what Mandryka thinks of this - he will have an educated opinion as he, like you, also knows everything about music from Gregorian to Renaissance.

According to the  Wikipedia article on Dunstable:

He was one of the most famous composers active in the early 15th century, a near-contemporary of Leonel Power, and was widely influential, not only in England but on the continent, especially in the developing style of the Burgundian School.

Dunstaple's influence on the continent's musical vocabulary was enormous, particularly considering the relative paucity of his (attributable) works. He was recognized for possessing something never heard before in music of the Burgundian School: la contenance angloise ("the English countenance"), a term used by the poet Martin le Franc in his Le Champion des Dames. Le Franc added that the style influenced Dufay and Binchois — high praise indeed.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on December 18, 2019, 12:30:07 PM
According to wiki, (Thomas?) Damett (early c15) left just three motets. In fact it turns out that they have all been recorded

Beata Dei Genetrix Mea -- Hilliard (Old Hall) and Ambrosian singers
Salve Porta Paradisi - Hilliard (Old Hall)
Sub Arturo Plebs -- Orlando Consort (Northern Star)

Anyway, why care? Well the answer is this. The Orlando Consort reveal that in Sub Arturo Plebs at least, he was an absolutely first class composer! Less than 5 minutes, but worth the price of the CD alone.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WFKIwvZ5L._SX466_.jpg)
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 09, 2020, 04:36:12 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91Yzl25s0gL._SS500_.jpg)

I just want to say that this is a wonderful recording of an English medieval christmas mass from the Winchester Troper. The variety of the music and the voices, the expressive and vigorous singing, the sheer strange, alien timeless quality, to me at least, have all made it a great pleasure to explore. One thing that's really impressing me at the moment is the virtuosity of some of the singers, the way the syllables fade away at the end.

Although a woman's voice figures in an important way, much of this is in the Orlando consort vein, most notably in the energy of the music making. Maybe unlike Orlando Consort, they never lapse into jaunty stiff modal rhythms, everything is sensual and flexible.

Very highly recommended if this sort of singing is your cup of tea, I must have played it half a dozen times at least over the past month. Although the strangeness of the music was initially rebarbative, something must have told me that there was something special happening because with each successive listening I've accommodated myself more to the style, and I've become more aware of the nuances.

It is the recording from Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge which has most captured my imagination, possibly because the music is so good to listen to. Good hi-fi and a good transfer is needed IMO. The sound engineering, if you listen to a lossless source at least, is very fine.

If anyone has the booklet, could they scan it for me? 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: deprofundis on January 18, 2020, 07:24:40 PM
Hello I'm not dead yet lol

Listen Mandryka Have you heard Robert White -Lamentation de Jeremie- + 4 Motets a 5 voix.

It's a fantastic album  I got it in Japanese import LP. This my friend you got to heard this, unless no pick-up table.This is fabulous.

I have high estimate for Robert White especially on a good label such as Caliope. Mon ami acheté ce disques si vous pouvez le trouvez.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on January 18, 2020, 10:13:34 PM
Yes, this is The Clerks of Oxenford, David Wulstan’s outfit. He was a major figure in making sense of the music, he argued that some renaissance English church choir music was designed to be sung higher than people had previously thought. I’m not sure how much traction  his research has these days.

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81qb55jdTfL._SS500_.jpg)

If you search this thread you’ll see there’s a couple of his CDs I’ve really enjoyed, especially the early recordings he made, the first. 
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: Mandryka on February 13, 2020, 03:39:49 AM
(https://i42.servimg.com/u/f42/12/92/42/38/6port770.jpg)

There’s a wonderful performance of Dunstable’s votive antiphon on Crux Fidelis, almost more like a chanson than a motet, on this CD. It’s very attractive music, as far as I can see not recorded elsewhere.
Title: Re: Early English Vocal Music
Post by: deprofundis on February 13, 2020, 08:14:01 AM
Not exactly all 15 century, but sir Mandryka, please monsieur,
you most hear Manchester renaissance ensemble. It featured a Fayrfax Motet and a Cristo de Brito Motet, this small E.P is a blessing, the voice are surreal, this new ensemble is darn captivating and well worth checking out.There album is called Lux et Tenebrae. This ensemble has a bright future ahead of them whit such a solid release.

Have a nice day, take care sir