Alfonso Ferrabosco, William Byrd: Consort Music

Alfonso Ferrabosco, William Byrd: Consort Music

by Philippe Pierlot
     
 

Here's a two-for-one reissue that makes sense rather than just suggesting an attempt to wring the last few dollars, euros, or yen out of recordings that have run their course. The two CDs were made (apparently) separately in the late '90s, with countertenor James Bowman and soprano Susan Hamilton, respectively, joining Belgium's RicercarSee more details below

Overview

Here's a two-for-one reissue that makes sense rather than just suggesting an attempt to wring the last few dollars, euros, or yen out of recordings that have run their course. The two CDs were made (apparently) separately in the late '90s, with countertenor James Bowman and soprano Susan Hamilton, respectively, joining Belgium's Ricercar Consort. Contrary to the ordering on the cover, the first disc, featuring Bowman, is dedicated to Byrd, the second, with Hamilton, to Alfonso Ferrabosco II. (Actually, several anonymous works are included on both discs.) Viol consort music was, in the intentionally vague words of the sixteenth century motto reproduced as the title of the booklet essay, "apt for viols and voices." It was a music for sophisticated amateurs who might perform the polyphony with whatever forces were available; the solo voice (not always on top) plus viols configuration must have been a common one. Both singers blend so subtly into the group of viols that each seems almost like one more viol. The real fascination of this two-disc release is that it leads you into some of the stylistic distinctions among the composers who worked in this rather intellectual tradition. Alfonso Ferrabosco II, an Italian who came to England to serve the British crown, was a generation younger than William Byrd, the king of all composers for viols and one whose inward nature responded passionately to the genre. Ferrabosco's music represents an elaboration on the classic style represented by Byrd; the second disc includes complex all-instrumental pieces like the "Fantasia on the hexachord," chromatically cycling through different statements of a six-note subject in such a way as to suggest that some variant of equal temperament was known to the first people who played the piece. Even in vocal pieces Ferrabosco's music comes off as more extreme than Byrd's, more aimed toward startling the listener. The Ricercar Consort clarifies the details of the music in other ways, as well; antiphonal effects usually hidden in viol recordings are carefully delineated through the placement of the players in relation to the microphones, and the presence of the unusual lyra-viol employed by Ferrabosco, with a rich sound generated by vibrating open strings, is worth the purchase price by itself. The texts of the consort songs have a distinctive refined melancholy, and the Ricercar Consort draws that melancholy out with deliberate, perfectly controlled performances on period instruments. The whole set is lovely, and even over two discs of fairly homogeneous music it never becomes dull. A strong candidate for a viol consort purchase if you're going to make just one.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/08/2008
Label:
Ricercar
UPC:
5400439002562
catalogNumber:
256
Rank:
128682

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. O Deathe, Rock Me A-Sleepe  -  Anonymous  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  2. Come Tread the Paths of Pensive Pangs, song for voice & lute  -  Anonymous, English  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  3. Quis me statim, consort song for voice & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  4. My sweet little darling, consort song for voices & 4 viols (doubtful)  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  5. Fantasia a 6, for instrumental consort No. 2 in G minor  - William Byrd  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  6. Wretched Albinus, consort song for voice & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  7. Rejoice unto the Lord, sacred song for voice & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  8. Fair Britain isle, song for voice & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  9. In Nomine a 4, for instrumental consort No. 1  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  10. Born Is the Babe  -  Anonymous  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  11. Triumph with pleasant melody voices, consort song for voices & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  12. Lullaby, my sweet little baby, madrigal for 5 voices (SSATB) & viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  13. Fantasia a 5, for instrumental consort in C major  - William Byrd  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  14. Ye sacred Muses (elegy for Thomas Tallis), consort song for voice & 4 viols  - William Byrd  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  15. Complain with tears  -  Anonymous  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  16. Fie, fie, my fate  -  Anonymous  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  17. In Paradise  -  Anonymous  - James Bowman  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  18. Heare me, O God, for voice & 4 viols (adapted from Four-Note Pavan)  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Ben Jonson  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  19. In Nomine a 5  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  20. In Nomine through all parts for 6 viols  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  21. Sweet Was the Song the virgin sung  - Christmas Traditional  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  22. Work(s): Allmand- Gaillard- Coranto (pour deux violes "lyra  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  23. This Merry Pleasant Spring  -  Anonymous  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  24. Dovehouse Pavan, for 5 viols  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  25. Cuckoo  -  Anonymous  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  26. When Daphne from Fair Phoebus Did Fly, consort song  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  27. Fantasia for 4 viols  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  28. Alas, Alack, my Heart is Woe, consort song  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  29. Fantasia for 6 viols No. 3  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  30. Why Stays the Bridegroom, consort song for voice & continuo  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  31. Pavane  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  32. Why Stays the Bridegroom, consort song for voice & continuo  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton
  33. Fantasia on the hexachord  - Alfonso Ferrabosco (The Younger)  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort
  34. Farewell the Bliss  -  Anonymous, English  - Philippe Pierlot  -  Ricercar Consort  - Susan Hamilton

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