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Henry's Music - Motets, Songs / Alamire, Lawrence-King, QuintEssential


Release Date: 04/28/2009 
Label:  Obsidian Records   Catalog #: 705   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John TavernerAnonymousKing VIII HenryRichard Sampson,   ... 
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-KingClare Wilkinson
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  AlamireQuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The British choral ensemble Alamire (not to be confused with the American group Capella Alamire) always can be relied upon to produce sonically vibrant, vocally well-matched and balanced, interpretively authoritative performances, and that's what you'll find in this thoroughly interesting program of motets, songs, and instrumental pieces from the time of Henry VIII. In fact, many of the selections are attributed to the king himself, nine songs and instrumental pieces drawn from "the so-called Henry VIII Manuscript" that resides in the British Library.

The instrumental works are performed by harp or by the ensemble QuintEssential, which consists of cornett, shawm, sackbut,
Read more and percussion; the solo songs are sensitively, beautifully sung by mezzo Clare Wilkinson, whose timbre here is remarkably like a countertenor. The choral pieces--including the six motets (here receiving their first recordings) contained in a luxuriously illustrated Royal Choirbook presented to Henry and Catherine of Aragon as a gift around 1518--are significant and in some cases substantial. Both the 10-minute-long Psallite felices by the German composer known as Sampson (from the choirbook) and the 16-minute-plus Lauda vivi alpha et oo by Robert Fayrfax are big, gorgeous, cathedral-sized works that show impressive skill at text setting and building extended structures with sectional variety, primarily by alternating polyphony with richly-scored chordal passages and shifting textures from full choir to reduced voice parts.

While all of the music here is worth repeated hearing (and performing!), for me the highlights are Sampson's Salve radix and Quam pulcra est (those cross-relations!), Jacotin's Beati omnes (sung by the lower voices), with its wonderfully flowing, interwoven lines and thrillingly resonant harmonies, and the opening O Christe Jesu, pastor bone by John Taverner, a perfectly written little gem that should be in every serious choir's repertoire. I can't emphasize enough how much of the success of this recording is due to Alamire's impeccably balanced, full-bodied, well-tuned sound, so expertly recorded in three different venues--and to the scholarship and clearly inspired direction of David Skinner. Don't delay; you'll love this!

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Christe Jesu, pastor bone by John Taverner
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
2. King's Pavan by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
3. England be glad by Anonymous
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
4. Consort no 12 by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
5. Madame d'amours by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp), Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Renaissance 
6. Tandernaken by King VIII Henry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
7. Salve radix by Richard Sampson
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
8. Psallite felices by Richard Sampson
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
9. Sub tuum praesidium by Benedictus de Opitiis
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
10. Quam pulcra est by Richard Sampson
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
11. Haec est praeclarum vas by Anonymous
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Medieval 
12. Beati omnes by Jacotin
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
13. Consort no 13 by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
14. O my Heart is sore by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp), Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
15. Helas madame by King VIII Henry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
16. Though sum saith that yough rulyth me by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp), Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
17. Nil maius by Phillippe Verdelot
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
18. Consort no 8 by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
19. Adieu! Madame, et ma maistresse by King VIII Henry
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Gothic Harp), Clare Wilkinson (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
20. En vray amoure by King VIII Henry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
21. Lauda vivi alpha by Robert Fayrfax
Conductor:  David Skinner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 

Featured Sound Samples

Christe Jesu, pastor bone (Taverner)
Beati omnes (Jacotin)
Helas madame (Henry VIII)

Sound Samples

Christe Jesu pastor bone: Christe Jesu, pastor bone
King's Pavan
England be glad
Consort No. 12
Madame d'amours
Tandernaken
Salve Radix
Psallite felices
Sub tuum praesidium
Quam pulcra est
Hec est praeclarum vas
Beati omnes qui timent Dominum
Consort No. 13
O my hart and O my hart
Helas madam
Though sum saith that yough rulyth me
Nil majus superi vident
Consort No. 8
Adieu Madame
En vray amoure
Lauda vivi alpha

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