Waytes: English Music for a Renaissance Band


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Waytes: English Music for a Renaissance Band Review

by Stephen Eddins

The Philadelphia-based early music ensemble Piffaro, which has been around since 1982, has recorded a variety of CDs of Renaissance instrumental music from France, Flanders, Italy, Germany, and Spain, and here turns its attention to English music of the period. The collection includes some instrumental dances and instrumental works by Byrd, John Mundy, Clement Woodcock, and Robert Jones, but consists largely of transcriptions of vocal works, particularly madrigals by Thomas Weelkes and sacred music by Byrd and Tallis. (There are also two vocal pieces, humorous ballads lustily sung by ensemble member Grant Herreid.) Whereas some early music groups take the received notation as a point of departure and improvise on the material, Piffaro is attentive to the conventions of informed period performance practice, but tends to stick closely to the scores. Listeners' responses to this CD are likely to reflect their attitude toward these two approaches. Those who prefer a looser, more improvisational performance style may not find enough daring and individuality in Piffaro's playing, but listeners who believe that faithful adherence to the received source material is the way to go will probably enjoy the CD. The playing itself is lively and spirited. Most of the tracks tend to rely heavily on recorders, shawms, and crumhorns, but strings are generally in short supply, leading to too much uniformity of texture. Those tracks that feature lute and harp provide a pleasing contrast. The sound is generally good, but the tracks using soprano recorder tend to be a little shrill, and may require some volume adjustment.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Piffaro 01:11 Amazon
2 Piffaro 01:56 Amazon
3 Piffaro 02:40 Amazon
4 Piffaro 02:05 Amazon
5 Piffaro 01:47 Amazon
6 Piffaro 03:19 Amazon
7 Piffaro 01:46 Amazon
8 Piffaro 01:48 Amazon
9 Piffaro 03:08 Amazon
10 Piffaro 02:53 Amazon
11 Piffaro 02:29 Amazon
12 Piffaro 02:40 Amazon
13 Piffaro 03:47 Amazon
14 Piffaro 02:02 Amazon
15 Piffaro 02:14
16 Piffaro 03:03
17 Piffaro 02:10 Amazon
18 Piffaro 01:25 Amazon
19 Piffaro 02:14 Amazon
20 Piffaro 02:03 Amazon
21 Piffaro 02:02 Amazon
22 Piffaro 01:20 Amazon
23 Piffaro 04:14 Amazon
24 Piffaro 02:05 Amazon
25 Piffaro 02:31 Amazon
26 Piffaro 02:17 Amazon
27 Piffaro
blue highlight denotes track pick