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Mr. Tomkins His Lessons of Worth
     

Mr. Tomkins His Lessons of Worth

by Bertrand Cuiller
 
Potential buyers who get hold of the booklet for this album, bristling with unfriendly footnotes and manuscript comparisons, may well be put off, but what's on the actual recording is not so specialist oriented. The "lessons of worthe" connected with British Renaissance composer Thomas Tomkins are neither all by Tomkins (in fact, most are by other composers) nor all

Overview

Potential buyers who get hold of the booklet for this album, bristling with unfriendly footnotes and manuscript comparisons, may well be put off, but what's on the actual recording is not so specialist oriented. The "lessons of worthe" connected with British Renaissance composer Thomas Tomkins are neither all by Tomkins (in fact, most are by other composers) nor all lessons, although there are a few instructional pieces. Instead the program reproduces something rare in the Renaissance literature: a collection of pieces that a single composer considered worthy of appreciation and study. The album thus has a distinctive flavor in itself, with mostly serious pieces that get away from the usual dance pairs; the two pavan-galliard pairs by John Bull and William Byrd are complex little pieces indeed. Many of the works exploit chromatic possibilities. On top of these general characteristics, French keyboardist Bertrand Cuiller makes a couple of unusual interpretive decisions. First, he relies on a notation by Tomkins himself in the Parisian manuscript from which the lessons of worth come, indicating (probably) that pieces should be kept together by final, by key as the modern age would say. Tomkins seems to refer to print rather than performance, but the concentration Cuiller achieves this way is intriguing. Second, and most striking for the average listener, is that for each group of pieces Cuiller uses a different instrument: a Dutch-Anglo harpsichord, a chime-like Spanish harpsichord, and a claviorganum, a comparatively rare harpsichord-organ contraption that gets spectacular results in the closing "Fantasia" of Bull (track 11). This is not really meant to be an introductory disc of Renaissance English keyboard music, but it's an intriguing item for large collections and certainly for libraries.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/09/2011
Label:
Mirare France
UPC:
3760127221371
catalogNumber:
137

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, "For a Beginner," for keyboard
  2. Felix namque (I), for keyboard
  3. Pavan & Galliard ("Sir William Petre"), for keyboard in G minor No. 2, MB 3: Galliard
  4. Pavan & Galliard ("Sir William Petre"), for keyboard in G minor No. 2, MB 3: Pavan
  5. Robbin Hood, for keyboard
  6. Offertory for keyboard
  7. Chromatic Pavan and Galliard, for keyboard, MB 87 ("Queen Elisabeth's"): Galliard
  8. Chromatic Pavan and Galliard, for keyboard, MB 87 ("Queen Elisabeth's"): Pavan

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