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Waytes: English Music For A Renaissance Band / Piffaro

Piffaro
Release Date: 01/26/2010 
Label:  Navona   Catalog #: 5823   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert JonesAnonymousThomas BatesonJohn Mundy,   ... 
Performer:  Daphna Mor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



WAYTES Piffaro; Daphna Mor (rcr, perc) NAVONA 5823 (61:21)


ANON Rossignol. Goddesses. La Bounette. Masquing Ayre: The nobleman. Antimasque: The Second Witch’s Dance. French King’s Masque. The Indian Weed Is Withered Quite. BASSANO Pavane. BATESON The Nightingale. BYRD Siderum rector. Domine non sum Read more dignus. Sermone blando. Fantasia à 3. FERRABOSCO 2 Almandes. JONES I Come, Sweet Birds. MUNDY In Midst of Woods/The Blackbird. PARSONS The Song Called Trumpets. TALLIS O nata lux de lumine. WEELKES Tan Tara Ran Tara Cries Mars. Young Cupid Hath Proclaim’d. Cease Sorrows Now. A Country Paire. Three Times A Day. Come Sirrah, Jack Ho. WOODCOCK Hackney


Piffaro is a seven-person wind band, created in 1980 for the performance of Renaissance music. It is one of the most popular ensembles of its kind, with 15 albums, regular national and international tours, and a frequent presence at some of the larger early musical festivals. Despite this, only one of those discs devoted entirely to its own music-making has been previously reviewed in Fanfare , and J. F. Weber was not very enthusiastic about Music from the Odhecaton (Dorian 90301): “If you appreciate the nasal sounds of these instruments, as in the concluding arrangement for four bagpipes, you will appreciate the expert playing and the realistic sound. If you recall that the book was a collection of vocal music, you may decide that this represents only one way of using the book, perhaps not the primary way.”


Leaving to one side the comment about the arrangement for four small, continental bagpipes—which the group added for the fun and tonal variety of it all, and which nowhere occurs in the album’s other 28 cuts—it’s a fair assessment. Renaissance wind instruments, especially crumhorns, and members of the dulcian and popular shawm families, were sharper-sounding than their modern counterparts. Of course, sackbuts, recorders, guitars, lutes, tabors, three-hole pipes, and harps weren’t, and they are very much a part of Piffaro’s overall sound as well. The current album includes all of these, as well as small bagpipes, in a typical variety of loud band ensembles that would have formed the London waits (or “waytes”) of the latter 16th and early 17th centuries. The combination of Weelkes and Byrd arrangements of vocal pieces, along with masque and popular tunes of the day, would have been typical for the period and place. The waits furnished civic entertainment for high occasions and low.


Piffaro’s musicians strike a fine balance between scholarly research and a stylistically appropriate improvisation that necessarily puts the onus upon the performers’ taste. They are also experts on their respective instruments, of which each member plays several. Tonal variety and progressive dynamic gradients between cuts is the norm; for example, the loud band composed of shawms, sackbuts, and dulcian performs Three Times A Day , followed by the recorder consort in the aptly named I Come, Sweet Birds , which is in turn succeeded by harp and lute in Rossignol . I have no complaint with any of this, as it displays a deft hand in programming; but in two of the cuts—“The Indian Weed Is Withered Quite,” and “Come Sirrah, Jack Ho”— a voice joins the crumhorn consort, and the singing is best described as gleefully raw. No doubt they were going here for the kind of performance that might have been heard from a simple yet enthusiastic amateur, but that raises the question, wouldn’t the accompaniment to such a person have had similar qualities? The krumhorn players are simply far too good, here, and that’s fine with me. Or are we supposed to envision a scenario where some member of the Fraternity of the Bent Elbow wandered out of a tavern and decided to join the professional civic minstrels in their route, before being hauled away? Regardless, I do wish Piffaro had included the texts for those two pieces, since broad enthusiasm doesn’t translate into decent enunciation.


My only other complaint about this album concerns its packaging. Instead of including liner notes that you can read anywhere, anytime, they’re placed on the disc. What’s more, the real advantages such a choice offers—longer essays in larger fonts, with embedded links between sections—are ignored, in favor of reproducing the group’s usual generalized if helpful comments, minus links, in a small font across a narrow visual strip that mimics the layout of physical liner notes. To its credit, Piffaro also includes a lengthy, well-produced video in which its members not only play excerpts in smaller consorts and as a single band, but individually present and briefly discuss each of the instruments they use. My advice for the future, for what little it’s worth, is to include the usual notes in physical form, and reserve a really good essay for enclosed digital media, in a larger, more readable font.


But these are admittedly quibbles. Piffaro has produced a musical and highly engaging album in Waytes . Admirers of their previous work will know what to expect. If you don’t, and you enjoy the more popular aspects of Renaissance music-making as we currently understand it, consider this disc an excellent introduction.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
I come, sweet birds, for ensemble by Robert Jones
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
2.
La Rossignol, for 2 lutes by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1616 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
3.
The Nightingale in Silent Night by Thomas Bateson
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
4.
In midst of woods,The blackbird, for ensemble by John Mundy
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 
5.
Goddesses by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
6.
La Bounette; la doune cella by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Baroque 
Written: 15th Century 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
7.
Siderum rector by William Byrd
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1575; England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Domine, non sum dignus by William Byrd
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9.
Pavane by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
10.
Almandes (2), for band by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
11.
Masquing ayre: The nobleman by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
12.
The French King's Masque to the Consort of Six by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
13.
Antimasque: The second witch's dance by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
14.
The Indian weed is withered quite by Anonymous
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
15.
Hackney for recorders by Clement Woodcock
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 20 Secs. 
16.
Sermone blando a 3, MB 108 by William Byrd
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
17.
Fantasia a 3 no 1 in C major by William Byrd
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
18.
O nata lux de lumine by Thomas Tallis
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1559; England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
19.
The song called trumpets a 6 by Robert Parsons
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
20.
Untitled CD-ROM Track by Unspecified
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Piffaro
Period: Modern 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
21.
Tan ta ra ran tan tant, cryes Mars, madrigal for 3 voices by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
22.
Young cupid hath proclaimed, madrigal for 4 voices by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
23.
Cease sorrowes now, madrigal for 3 voices by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
24.
A country paire, for band by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
25.
Three times a day, madrigal for 6 voices by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Percussion), Daphna Mor (Recorder)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
26.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: Tribulatio proxima est by William Byrd
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; England 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
27.
Come sirrah Jack, hoe, madrigal for 3 voices by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Daphna Mor (Recorder), Daphna Mor (Percussion)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  The High Point, St. Peter's Church in th 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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