Capella Claudiana: O Mirandum Mysterium

O Mirandum Mysterium
Sacred works by Giovanni Legrenzi from the music archive of the
Benedictine monastery in Marienberg in South Tyrol

Capella Claudiana, Marian Polin
Tiroler Landesmuseen. Musikmuseum 47, CD13046. 52’00

Although Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690) was well known in his own lifetime, he is one of those frequent composers whose name and music is almost unknown today. In Legrenzi’s case, he is probably only known through Bach’s youthfully flamboyant organ Fugue “on a theme of Legrenzi”, although this is either based on a lost Legrenzi work or one that is not a by Legrenzi at all. This compelling recording should help to bring him to the attention of a much wider audience. It is based on music by Legrenzi found in the remarkably wide-ranging musical archive of the remote Marienberg monastery in Vinschgau in the South Tyrol.

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Stile Antico – Journey of the Mayflower

Stile Antico
The Journey of the Mayflower

Available free on YouTube until 28 November 2021

This is not a review, but an alert that the excellent vocal group Stile Antico have re-released their 2020 film, The Journey of the Mayflower, on their YouTube channel. It is available free for one week until the end of 28 November 2021. In this music drama, Stile Antico explore the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims, alongside music of the period. The Mayflower Pilgrims were puritans who sailed from Plymouth in September 1620 to what would become New England, seeking a life free from religious persecution. Despite their confidence that God’s favour was with them, their journey was beset with difficulties. Their arrival also heralded an era of destruction for the native Wampanoag tribe.

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The Albion Project: Fretwork

The Albion Project
Fretwork
Gabriel Prokofiev, Nonclassical
Kings Place, 12 November 2021

The Albion Project is an initiative from the viol consort Fretwork. They commissioned composers to arrange a wide range of significant works of British music for viol consort. This was performed in Hall 2 (a black box studio) of Kings Place as part of their 2021 London Unwrapped series of concerts. The new arrangements and remixes were performed with and together with a digital narrative from Gabriel Prokofiev (assisted by Blasio Kavuma), who linked and underlay Fretwork’s live music for five viols with extracts from live recordings, computer beats, loops, audio manipulation and various other technical wizardries. It was an attempt to answer the question – what is British identity, and what is that in music?

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Solo Recorder Competition

Society of Recorder Players/Moeck Solo Recorder Competition
London International Festival of Early Music
St. Margaret’s, Lee Terrace, Blackheath
Friday 12th November 2021

It has been 30 years since the biennial Society of Recorder Players/Moeck Solo Recorder Competition (founded in 1985) linked with what is now the London International Festival of Early Music (LIFEM), a collaboration that incorporates the competition final and a recital by the winner at the following year’s festival. This year the venue was the fascinating church of St. Margaret’s, Lee, a simple early Victorian building in Early English style with spectacular interior decorations dating from the latter decades of the 19th-century. This church was a distinct improvement from the previous venue, as was the organisation of the event – an issue in previous competitions (see my review of the 2019 LIFEM here).

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Pachelbel: Organ Works, Vol 1

Pachelbel: Organ Works, Vol 1
Matthew Owens
1965 Frobenius Organ, The Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford
Resonus RES10285. 71’03

In what promises to be a comprehensive survey of Johann Pachelbel’s organ music, Matthew Owens explores what is probably this enigmatic composer’s least appreciated genre. Pachelbel (1653-1706) was based in South Germany at a time when the famous North German organ school was at its height – he died a year before Buxtehude. His music has been overshadowed by his contemporaries in the northern cities, and this series of recordings should do much to rekindle knowledge of his specific musical style. It will hopefully put to rest his unfortunate post-1970s reputation as the composer of the famous Canon – a piece that is hardly ever performing in a style that Pachelbel would remotely recognise.

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Key Notes: Early European Keyboard Music

Key Notes
Early European Keyboard Music

Corina Marti
Outhere/Ramee RAM 1916. 65’54

Keynotes. Early European Keyboard Music

It is many decades since keyboard music was assumed by many to have started with Bach. This recording offers a chance to explore a little-known repertoire of music for organ and other instruments dating from the medieval period. The recording draws on manuscripts such as the Buxheimer Orgelbuch, Lochamer Liederbuch, Ileborgh Tablature, and the Montpellier, Robertsbridge, Las Huelgas, and Faenza codices. Many of the pieces are arrangements (or intabulations) of pre-existing music by, for example, Pierre des Molins, Giovanni da Firenze, Philippe de Vitry, Francesco Landini and Jacopo da Bologna. The instruments used are a metal-stringed clavisimbalum, a gut-stringed claviciterium, two portative organs and the 1730 organ in Nicolaikirche in Altenbruch in northern Germany which contains pipework from the original 1501 organ.

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AAM. Haydn: The Creation

‘A New Created World’
Haydn: The Creation

Academy of Ancient Music, Laurence Cummings, Nina Dunn Studio
Barbican Hall. 28 Sep 2021, and online

After a successful series of AAM Live 2021 live-streamed Covid concerts, the Academy of Ancient Music returned to live performance with Haydn’s Creation, conducted in the Barbican Hall by Laurence Cummings, making his debut as the AAM’s new Music Director. Haydn’s joyous paean of praise to the Biblical creation story was a splendid way to open their post-lockdown “New Worlds” themed season. Their performance also featured inventive and elaborate video designs by Nina Dunn Studio, projected onto the wide wooden rear screen of the Barbican stage.

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Song of Beasts

Song of Beasts
Fantastic Creatures in Medieval Song
Ensemble Dragma
Ramée RAM 1901. 52’15

This is the musical equivalent of medieval bestiary, depicting in sound the animals and mythical beings that populate medieval manuscripts in a fascinating sequence of Italian and French ballate and madrigali from 14th and 15th century composers. Ensemble Dragma‘s CD is accompanied by a full-length film of illustrations from medieval manuscripts.

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Fair Oriana: Two Voices

Fair Oriana: Two Voices
Angela Hicks & Penelope Appleyard
VOCES8 records: VCM 134. 68’14

Image 1 - *PRE-ORDER* FAIR ORIANA: TWO VOICES (CD.)

Two Voices is the debut recording from the soprano duo Fair Oriana (Angela Hicks & Penelope Appleyard). It is described as “a unique, diverse collection of beguiling chamber music from renaissance to baroque, with splashes of folk, medieval and contemporary influence along the way”. The pieces are divided into four volumes, exploring the sentiments of happiness in love, intrigue and teasing in love, passion, and the loss of love. As well as all twelve of Thomas Morley’s 1595 a capella ‘Canzonets to Two Voices’, there are other pieces drawn from Fair Oriana’s’ concert programmes together with specially commissioned pieces from contemporary composers Fraser Wilson and Owain Park.

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Continuo Foundation – update

Continuo Foundation
“Preserving historical performance in the UK

The Continuo Foundation was founded earlier this year, and was soon granted charitable status by the UK Charities Commission. Their Mission is “To support a flourishing historical performance sector, sustaining the careers of its virtuosic freelance musicians, creating opportunities for the next generation of artists entering the field and widening access to performances for communities across the UK“.  They realised that, without support, the once-thriving UK historical performance sector could be permanently damaged by Covid restrictions. To that, I would add the devastating effect of a badly-negotiated Brexit deal that seems to have ignored the vital importance to musicians of easy travel within Europe. Their immediate aim was to help period instrument ensembles to remain active by developing Covid-safe projects as a way of creating employment for musicians. Their longer term aim is to “provide a new resource for connecting ensembles, musicians, audiences, and venues in order to grow the UK’s historical performance sector and preserve its celebrated tradition of excellence“. 

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Ensemble Hesperi: From Caledonia to the Capital!

From Caledonia to the Capital!
Chamber music and song by Scottish eighteenth-century composers
Ensemble Hesperi, Angela Hicks, Rory Carver
St Mary Le Bow Church, 17 September 2021

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Financial support from the Continuo Foundation allowed Ensemble Hesperi to increase their usual line up of four instrumentalists for this concert of music by 18th-century Scottish composers. Their funding also allowed the concert to be filmed for later release. Their programme was based on the composer James Oswald, known as the “Scottish Orpheus”. He was born in Fife in 1710 and was a musician and dancing master in Dunfermline before spending time in Edinburgh. He left Scotland for London in 1741 where he published several collections of Scottish tunes. He become Chamber Composer to George III and spent the last few years his life in Knebworth House, having married the widow of the Lytton owner.

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Virtuosi

Virtuosi
Johann Sebastian Bach & Prinz J E v. Sachsen-Weimar
Thüringer Bach Collegium, Gernot Süßmuth
audite 97.790. 66’54

The Thüringer Bach Collegium are based in Arnstadt, home to various Bachs since 1620 and one of five Thuringian towns associated with the young Bach. In 1703, at just 18 years old, Bach (then a court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst III in Weimar) was asked to check the new organ of the Arnstadt Neue Kirche and was soon after was appointed as organist. He stayed for four years, apparently “confusing” the congregation with his harmonisation of the chorales and running into probems with singers and the church authorities, culminating in his famous 1705/6 walk to hear Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck, overstaying his approved absence by several weeks. 

He then moved briefly to Mühlhausen (and was succeded by his cousin Johann Ernst Bach) before returning to Weimar as organist and director of music where he met the young music-loving, and tragically short-lived, Prince Johann Ernst IV of Sachsen-Weimar, nephew of the reigning Duke and a pupil of bach’s cousin, Johann Gottfried Walther. Bach knew the young prince’s compositions and arranged some of his Italian-influenced concertos for keyboard. The Thüringer Bach Collegium’s debut recording was of some of the concertos of the Prince.

This recording feature two examples of Bach’s organ versions of Johann Ernst’s composition, the three-movement Concerto for Organ in G, BWV592 and the short Concerto, BWV595. Although most of the recording was made in the Oberkirche rather than the Bachkirche (formally the Bonifaziuskirche or Neue Kirche), I am told that the organ pieces were recorded in the Bach church, although there is no indication in the CD notes to confirm that. The Bachkirche organ has changed a lot since Bach’s days, but has its roots in the 1703 organ with the case and some of the pipework that Bach knew. It is far closer to the sound world of Bach than the 1902 Sauer in the Oberkirche. Jörg Reddin plays with clarity and precision.

The other organ piece is an Allegro from Walther’s Concerto in D minor, an arrangment of a piece by Torelli. The young Prince is represented by a reconstruction of violin concerto. The remaining Bach pieces put the soloists of the Thüringer Bach Collegium through their paces – Gernot Süßmuth, David Castro-Balbi & Raphael Hevicke, violins, and, in particular, oboist Clara Blessing.

One of the problems with this recording is the availability of all the pieces on other recordings, performed, dare I say, by rather more sophisticated ensembles. The playing here has a rather rustic quality, with punchy rhythms and forceful playing. The recorded sound adds to the boldness of the performance with a very close acoustic image, as though you are sitting in the front pew of the church. A promotional video can be viewed here.

Véronique Gens: Passion

Passion: Lully, Charpentier, Desmarets
Véronique Gens
, Ensemble Les Surprises, Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas
Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles
ALPHA 747. 57’12

This recording showcases soprano Véronique Gens in the form of a five Act “opera imaginaire”, based on the repertoire of two of the greatest divas of the 17th-century Paris Opera: Mlle Saint-Christoph (her first name is not known) and her successor Marie Le Rochois. They both dominated the Paris opera scene between 1675 and 1698. Concentrating principally on the music of Jean-Baptiste Lully, we also hear music from operas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Henry Desmarets, and Pascal Collasse, with extracts from Lully’s Amadis, Proserpine, Atys, Armide, Persée, Alceste, and Le Triomphe de l’Amour, together with Charpentier’s Médée, depicting heroines such as Alceste, Armide and Médée, and the deities Juno, Ceres and Aeolia.  

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Josquin 500: Pie memorie

Josquin 500
Pie memorie: A valediction in voices and viols
Linarol Consort, Binchois Consort
, Andrew Kirkman
Recorded in Leominster Priory. Available online until 31 October 2021


The Linarol Consort’s Josquin 500 festival, marking the 500th anniversary of Josquin des Prez’s death, is taking place during August and September 2021 with a series of live and streamed events. There are several options for booking online access to the events. The first of these events was Pie memorie: “A valediction in voices and viols” with The Linarol Consort & The Binchois Consort, recorded at a live concert in Leominster Priory on 20 August 2021 and available online from 27 August, the anniversary of Josquin’s death, until 31 October 2021. The premise for this concert was to imagine Josquin’s friends, colleagues and admirers coming together to pay their funeral respects in a house near the church of Condé sur Escaut. Viols and voices join in songs and motets of lamentation, including Richafort’s Requiem, as they hoped to aid Josquin’s soul’s route to salvation.

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BBC Proms: Saint-Saëns ‘Organ’ Symphony

BBC Proms: Saint-Saëns ‘Organ’ Symphony
Hallé, Sir Mark Elder, Benjamin Grosvenor, Anna Lapwood

Royal Albert Hall, 7 September 2021

The anniversary of the Royal Albert Hall and its monumental organ has resulted in rather more than the usual number of organ events during this year’s BBC Proms. Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings (reviewed here) made a wonderful start on the first night. It was followed by two solo recitals (reviewed here and here) and two other very different Proms, both including the organ, on successive nights. The second of these is reviewed here, from the BBC Radio 3 broadcast.

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BBC Proms: James McVinnie


BBC Proms: ‘organ’ Prom

BBC Concert Orchestra, Anna-Maria Helsing, James McVinnie
Royal Albert Hall, 6 September 2021

The anniversary of the Royal Albert Hall and its monumental organ has resulted in rather more organ events tha usual in this year’s BBC Proms. Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings (reviewed here) made a wonderful start on the first night. It was followed by two solo recitals (reviewed here and here) and two very different Proms, both including the organ, on successive nights, reviewed here from the BBC Radio 3 broadcasts.

The first, on 6 September and available from BBC Sounds here, was a programme of late 20th and 21st century music with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing. They were joined for a few pieces by the adventurous organist James McVinnie who, having survived spells at St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey is now an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music.

The programme opened with Einojuhani Rautavaara’s evocative 1972 Cantus Arcticus, which combines recordings of bird song with the orchestra. Judith Weir’s Still, Glowing provided a moment of calm before James McVinnie’s performance of Philip Glass’s 1989 Mad Rush, a tour de force of virtuosic energy contrasted with sections of gentle repose. It is usually assumed to be for piano but was originally performed by Glass on the organ for a visit of the Dalai Lama.

Pieces by Johann Johannsson and Arvo Pärt led to Messiaen’s Dieu est immense, a movement from his vast 1985 Livre du Saint Sacrament. James McVinnie mastered the massive Albert Hall organ well, finding just the right colours and textures for this powerful piece. The soto voce ending must have sounded magical in the hall.

Johann Johannsson’s A Sparrow Alighted on Our Shoulder was followed by Missy Mazzoli’s 2012 Holy Roller. It is presented as “devotional music for a non-existent religion” and draws on the melodies and harmonies of Thomas Tallis’s Psalm settings.

The evening concluded with the UK premiere of Canadian composer Samy Moussa’s 2014 c10′ single movement concerto for organ and orchestra: A Globe Itself Infolding. Referencing William Blake’s poem, Milton, and the Hebrew Book of Ezekiel, both of which contributed to the title, the sustained harmonies give a timeless quality to the piece. Filigree patterns appear from the organ, woodwind and brass as the piece builds to a series of climaxes. A central solo organ passage brings about a reverse in the texture, with the organ providing the sustained harmonies while the strings join in the filigree flourishes. It ends with a crescendo on a long-held open 5th, with the brass and timpani providing the inner pulse. Through well-judged registrations, James McVinnie successfully melded the organ into the texture of the orchestra.

BBC Proms: Bach & Handel

BBC Proms: Bach & Handel
Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Ann Hallenberg
Royal Albert Hall, 1 September 2021

Handel: Donna, che in ciel HWV 233
Bach: Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4
Handel: Dixit Dominus

Eschewing all the social distancing provisions that the BBC Proms had arranged for orchestras, John Elliott Gardiner’s own Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists crammed tight onto the (specially enlarged) Royal Albert Hall stage for a performance of two pieces seemingly written for the same Sunday in 1707 by two 22-year-old composer, Bach and Handel, both at the start of their very different careers. This review is based on the BBC Four televised broadcast.

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Tiranno

Tiranno
Kate Lindsey, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen
Alpha Classics. Alpha 736. 75’34

ALPHA736

Extracts from five operatic scenes from the early to mid Baroque form a showcase for American mezzo Kate Lindsey. With compositions by Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel, Monteverdi, and Bartolomeo Monari, the pieces are based on the everyday story of Roman folk: Nero, Agrippina, and Poppea. Tirany is just the start of it!

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BBC Proms: Organ recital 2

BBC Proms: Organ recital 2
Peter Holder, organ
Royal Albert Hall, 4 September 2021

Meyerbeer: Le prophète Coronation March, transcr. W. T. Best
Bach: Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, BWV 537
Widor: Symphony No. 5 – Allegro vivace (1st movt)
Saint-Saens: Fantaisie No. 1 in E flat major
Liszt: Fantasy & Fugue on ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam

The second of this year’s BBC Proms organ recitals was given by Peter Holder, sub-organist of Westminster Abbey, replacing Thomas Trotter. As part of the joint anniversaries of the Royal Albert Hall and centenary composer Saint-Saëns, the programme recreated elements of Saint-Saëns’ legendary performances on the Royal Albert Hall organ in the opening season of 1871 and in 1880.

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Silbermann Days: {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczn

Silbermann Days
Oh! Frohlockung
Concerti for two orchestras by Handel, Fasch, Richter and others
{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna
Martyna Pastuszka, director, Arvid Gast, organ
Stadtkirche Frauenstein and livstream. 3 September 2021

Under the auspices of the Gottfried-Silbermann-Gesellschaft (the Gottfried Silbermann Society, celebrating its 30th anniversary), the 24th Silbermann Days festival (based in the region between Freiberg, Dresden and the Ore Mountains) opened on 3 September with a concert combining organ music with pieces for double orchestra. It was held, and lives-treamed, from the Stadtkirche in Frauenstein, some 33km southwest of Dresden. I am reviewing this from the live stream, which can be viewed here.

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Bach: Harpsichord Concertos II

Bach: Harpsichord Concertos II
Francesco Corti, il Pomno d’Oro
Pentatone PTC 5186 889. 61’36

Cover J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Concertos, Vol. 2

This is the second of a two-disc series of the Bach harpsichord concertos. It includes Concertos No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1054, No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056, and No. 6 in F Major, BWV 1057, and, to complete the timing, the Concerto for harpsichord, flute and violin in A Minor, BWV 1044. The choice of concertos for the two discs was based on the orchestration forces, with these concertos using solo, rather than multiple strings. The balance works well in all four concertos.

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The Trials of Tenducci

The Trials of Tenducci
A Castrato in Ireland
Irish Baroque Orchestra, Peter Whelan, Tara Erraught
Linn Records CKD 639. 65’57

COVER CKD 639

Following their 2019 recording Welcome home, Mr Dubourg, Peter Whelan, and the Irish Baroque Orchestra return to their explorations of the musical heritage of Dublin, in this case in the shape of Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci (c1735-90), a notorious Italian castrato singer who spent 3 years there in around 1765. He was born in Siena and first came to London in his early 20s. Apart from his brief time in Dublin and a very short return in later years, he spent most of the rest of his life in London. During his time in London he had contact with Johann Christian Bach (the ‘London Bach’), singing the title role in his opera Adriano in Siria. He briefly taught singing to the c20 year old Mozart in Paris, and received a now-lost concert aria in return.

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Music at the Tower: Bach for Good

Bach for Good
Music at the Tower
St Mary’s Tower, Hornsey
21 August 2021

Music at the Tower was founded in the summer of 2020 by soprano Mary Bevan MBE and cellist Jonny Byers to provide much needed employment for freelance musicians in and around London whose livelihoods had evaporated during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the summer of 2020, they employed 128 musicians and other performers in a total of 11 outdoor performances at St Mary’s Tower in Hornsey. Their most recent project was the free Bach for Good festival of Baroque music, held on Saturday 21 August at St Mary’s Tower.

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Andrew Benson-Wilson plays Sweelinck

Mayfair Organ Concerts
The Grosvenor Chapel
South Audley Street, Mayfair, London W1K 2PA
Tuesday 24 August 2020, 1:10

WP_20150721_15_17_12_Pro.jpg

Andrew Benson-Wilson
plays music by
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of the famed ‘Orpheus of Amsterdam’, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-16 October 1621), Andrew Benson-Wilson gives an organ recital of pieces reflecting the different styles and genres of Sweelinck’s music. He was the most influential teacher of his day, attracting many students from German-speaking areas. Several of them went on to create the Hamburg school of organ composition which culminated in the music of Buxtehude and Bach.

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Bach: Well-tempered Consort- II

J S Bach: Well-tempered Consort – II
Phantasm
Linn CKD657. 70’05

cover-CKD657

Phantasm’s first ‘Well-tempered Consort’ recording, reviewed here, was a rather anarchic collection of Bach keyboard pieces arranged for viol consort. This, their second recording on the same theme, is far more coherent, combining Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Of the 24 tracks, seven are from Book I, the rest from Book II. It is not surprising that there are far more fugues than preludes on the recording, with just six prelude and fugue pairs. The tracks are not in key order, but make perfect sense in terms of key relationships and mood. Four tracks are transposed down a semitone: the C# pair, and the F# and D# minor fugues.

Any reservations I might have had over their first recording are resolved here. The balance between the instruments is perfect, as it should be, particularly for the fugues. They avoid the temptation to accent fugal entries and, although there are far more subtle nuances of tone on an individual note available on a viol than on a keyboard instrument, such expressive devices are only used with sensitivity.

The programme notes are rather too romantic and flowery for my taste, as can often be the case when written by an academic. “Even the slightest musical turn of phrase might trigger intense disquisitions on the human condiction” is one such example.

It was recorded in Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford over a four day period. The recording rate of some six tracks a day is reflected in the quality of the performance. Despite the size of the space, the acoustic remains suitably domestic in scale.

BBC Proms: Josquin


BBC Proms: Josquin des Prez
The Marian Consort
Cadogan Hall, 9 August 2021

Josquin des Prez: Praeter rerum seriem
Sethus Calvisius: Praeter rerum seriem
Josquin des Prez: Benedicta es, caelorum Regina
Adriaan Willaert: Benedicta es, caelorum regina
Josquin des Prez: Inviolata, integra et casta es
Vicente Lusitano: Inviolata, integra et casta es

Josquin des Prez (c1450/1455 – 1521) is one of the composers’ anniversaries celebrated during this years BBC Proms season, 500 years after his death. In this lunchtime concert, the Marian Consort, making their Proms debut, gave a programme of musical borrowings, contrasting three of Josquin’s greatest motets with three later musical homages that each reworked Josquin’s own music for a new age. Josquin pieces were themselves borrowings, as they use pre-existing melodies.

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BBC Proms: Organ Recital 1

BBC Proms: Organ Recital 1
Bach and Improvisations
Martin Baker
Royal Albert Hall, 1 August 2021

Yet again, the BBC Proms has programmed an organ recital at a time (11:45 on a Sunday morning) when most organists are at work. A modest audience was the obvious result. It was originally intended to have been given by Oliver Latry, organist at Notre Dame but Covid-related travel problems resulted in Martin Baker stepping in at short notice to replicate the planned programme of Bach and improvisations. The Royal Albert Hall opened in 1871, along with the mighty Father Willis organ, then powered by two steam engines and now magnificently restored by Manders. Subsequent alterations and rebuilds have now resulted in 9,999 pipes that would stretch for nine miles if laid end to end. Bizarrely, it has its own Twitter account!

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BBC Proms: First Night

BBC Proms: First Night
BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers
Dalia Stasevska, Daniel Hyde

Royal Albert Hall, 30 July 2021

And so, after two years’ absence, only partially relieved by last year’s shortened and audience-free Proms season, here we sat, to let the sound of music creep in our ears. Dalia Stasevska, the Finnish Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and director of last years’ Last Night, opened this year’s Proms season with a well-conceived programme of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Poulenc’s dramatic Organ Concerto, a newly commissioned work by Sir James MacMillan and Sibelius’s Second Symphony. It was a night to remember, for many reasons.

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Gothic Voices: Echoes of an Old Hall

Echoes of an Old Hall
Music from the Old Hall Manuscript
Gothic Voices
Linn CKD644. 76’03

cover-CKD644

This magnificent recording from Gothic Voices takes a refreshing look at the much-recorded repertoire from the famous Old Hall Manuscript, the most substantial collection of English sacred music of the medieval period. It was compiled over several years leading up to c1420. The manuscript contains a number of examples of the influence of French composers on English music of the time. One example is the first piece on this recording, the wonderfully bouncy Arae post libamina / Nunc surgunt by Mayshuet de Joan, a French musician who spent some time in England in the mid 14th century.

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