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Gents: 16th Century English Choral Music

Song NameComposer
Eliza, her name gives honourWilliam Byrd
Ave verum CorpusWilliam Byrd
My Ladye Nevells Booke: A Fancie in C majorCornyshe
Ave Maria, Mater DeiFerrabosco
Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae IFerrabosco
Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae IIFerrabosco
In depth no man remembreth TheeHolborne
ParadizoJohnson
The SighesJohnson
The Honie-suckleJohnson
Eliza is the fairest QueenParsons
Ave Maria for 5 voicesThomas Tallis
Credo quod RedemptorThomas Tallis
Salvator mundiThomas Tomkins
Miserere nostriThomas Tomkins
Remember me, O LordThomas Tomkins
Lord, to Thee I make my moan
Deliver us, O LordThomas Weelkes

Directed by Peter Dijkstra

Perhaps it's an example of a characteristically Dutch sense of humor to have a group called the Gents performing music by the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, the court composers of sixteenth century England. But when the group gets down to the music, it's all business. The Gents are not an English but a Dutch ensemble, formed of veterans of one of Holland's top boys' choirs. They have put together an exceptionally fine program that gets into the meat of the English tradition without giving it the layers of reverence that the music can take on when done by English cathedral choirs who have been at it for centuries. As would a day of music heard by Henry VIII or Elizabeth I, the program mixes sacred polyphony with a few madrigals, organ pieces, and viol works -- and in so doing illuminates the ways in which these traditions shaped each other. The inclusion of a work like Robert White's comparatively little-heard Christe, qui lux es et dies, a version for viols of an originally vocal sacred piece, shows how the viol consort tradition was rooted in sacred polyphonic art. But the real beauties of the album reside in the vocal performances themselves. The Gents have a sound both precise and lush. Just 16 strong, they deliver plenty of power in the two big works by Alfonso Ferrabosco I (tracks 12 and 15), an Italian transplant who worked in an imposing style of Catholic music that was, over time, replaced under Anglican influence by simpler textures. More transparent music, in English, is done equally well; sample the psalm settings by Thomas Weelkes, tracks 2 and 4, for examples. The only source of complaint here is the skimpy booklet, which skims over the material and provides no texts at all -- but despite their non-English origins, the Gents articulate the words of the English-language pieces well enough that most listeners will understand them. This is an excellent introduction to English sacred music of the sixteenth century, covering a broad chronological sweep

Item code: 6155C | 1 CD | $15.95 |add item to cart
Choral | A Cappella | Male | The Netherlands
CG 06013

Related: Men's Choirs CDs
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