Rose Consort of Viols

Four Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal

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English music for a consort of viols presents a unique moment in the slow differentiation of vocal and instrumental genres. Viols played pieces drawn from the repertoire of vocal polyphony. In the Chapel Royal for which the composers represented here worked, such vocal pieces would have been sung unaccompanied. But when the music was performed outside of a church, in England's vigorous amateur musical culture, various things could happen. A singer might take the top line, which tied into stylistic forces already afoot in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, or an all-instrumental performance could be attempted. Furthermore, sacred and secular music might not be sharply differentiated. These options are explored on this attractive British release, which also offers the listener a chance to contrast the styles of the four "Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal": Thomas Tallis, Christopher Tye, William Byrd, and Thomas Tomkins; settings of the "In Nomine" tune by all four composers are included. Soprano Clare Wilkinson does a very good impersonation of an amateur vocalist, delivering a light, almost vibrato-less tone that makes her sound almost like another viol. The moods of the music are unusually varied thanks to the range of composition types included; there are madrigals, dances, dense Latin polyphony, simpler Anglican works, and the abstract In Nomines. The result is quite a lively disc of viol music in which something new is always happening, a bit of a surprise, perhaps, for those who love the "pure" viol consort sound, but just the thing for those who prefer concentrated melancholy in small doses. The album was recorded in a monastery, Forde Abbey, with superior results.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:36 Amazon
2 03:11 Amazon
3 03:18 Amazon
4 01:15 Amazon
5 02:50 Amazon
6 01:14 Amazon
7 04:36 Amazon
8 02:53 Amazon
9 03:24 Amazon
10 02:15 Amazon
11 03:45 Amazon
12 03:39 Amazon
13 01:45 Amazon
14 01:45 Amazon
15 03:02 Amazon
16 02:26 Amazon
17 03:35 Amazon
18 01:51 Amazon
19 07:02 Amazon
20 02:21 Amazon
21 01:10 Amazon
22 02:22 Amazon
23 02:18 Amazon
24 03:29 Amazon
25 02:36 Amazon
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