Notes and Editorial Reviews
A nice mixture of instrumental pieces the painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck could have heard.
It is a bit of a mystery to me why this disc has landed on my desk. It was recorded in 1999 and as far as I can see it is not a recent reissue.
Anyway, the music on this disc is interesting enough to write something about it. The subject, as the title indicates, is music from the time of Sir Anthony Van Dyck. This Flemish painter was born in 1599, and this disc was made as part of the commemoration of his birth. It contains music which Van Dyck could have heard during his stays in several places in Europe.
He spent the first twenty years of his life in Antwerp where he was a pupil of, among
others, Peter Paul Rubens. The first tracks of this disc are devoted to music which can be associated with Flanders, and especially Antwerp. Petrus Phalesius was a famous music printer, who had died long before Van Dyck was born, but his son Pierre the younger had taken over the firm and books with dance music remained popular and were reprinted. Also musicians from Antwerp were Séverin and Peter Cornet - not related - the latter of which was a famous keyboard virtuoso. Peter Philips also belongs to this stage in Van Dyck's life: he had left England because of his faith and settled in Antwerp in the early 1590s. But when Van Dyck lived in Antwerp Philips had already moved to Brussels where he became organist at the court.
Next a couple of English pieces are played, as Van Dyck travelled to London in 1620 where he was offered the post of court painter by King James I. We hear consort pieces by John Adson and John Ward.
The next stage was Italy where Van Dyck stayed from 1621 to 1627. He visited Rome, Venice, Florence, Palermo and Naples and settled in Genoa as portrait-painter to the aristocracy. We hear some pieces by the most famous composers of that time, Girolamo Frescobaldi and Dario Castello. The Cento Partite is one of Frescobaldi's most famous keyboard works, but the instrumental canzona belongs to a part of his oeuvre which is still hardly known.
From 1627 to 1632 Anthony - or Anthoon, as his original name was - stayed in Antwerp again, and we hear a consort piece by Peter Philips and a keyboard work by John Bull, another English composer who had settled in the Southern Netherlands, taking the post of organist of the cathedral in Antwerp.
The last stage of his life was London again, where he remained until his death. He was appointed "ordinary painter of Their Majesties" and received the title of 'knight'. We hear some consort pieces by Thomas Lupo and Robert Johnson and a keyboard work by William Byrd.
This disc offers exclusively instrumental pieces which is only one aspect of the music Van Dyck must have heard. It could be used as a supplement to a disc with mainly vocal music by the ensemble Currende, directed by Erik Van Nevel (Etcetera, 1999), which was also recorded as part of the commemoration of Van Dyck's birth. The musicians deliver good performances and in particular the renaissance recorders produce a beautiful bright sound. There is a nice variation in character and scoring between the various compositions. The programme has been well recorded and the booklet contains an interesting overview of Van Dyck's life and career.
I recommend this disc to people who have a special interest in music of this period. Although some pieces on this disc are rather well-known there are also little-known gems on this disc and the performances fully justify a recommendation.
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Branle de Champaigne by Pierre Phalèse
Written: circa 1540; France
Allemande Poussigne by Pierre Phalèse
Written: 16th Century
La peine dure by Séverin Cornet
Written: Antwerp, Belgium
The Temporiser by Robert Johnson
Written: 17th Century; Italy
The Witty Wanton by Robert Johnson
Written: 17th Century; England
Pavan and Galliard Pagget by Peter Philips
Written: ?1590; England
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