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Music From The Chirk Castle Part-Books / Rice, Brabant Ensemble


Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67695   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  William MundyWilliam ByrdRobert ParsonsEdmund Hooper,   ... 
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The names Mundy, Parsons, Tye, Byrd, Tallis, and Sheppard are familiar to fans of 16th-century English choral music (Deane, Hooper, and Caustun slightly less so), but the works featured on this fine recording are not well-known and several have never before been recorded. Largely this is due to the fact that the manuscripts, copied into six part-books (one of which was lost somewhere along the way), were essentially removed from active use and packed away for nearly 300 years in the library of the Welsh castle where they had served the chapel choir, organist, and parishioners from around 1630 to the end of the 17th century.

Although some of the selections are known from other
Read more sources--Byrd's O God give ear and do apply; Robert Parsons' Deliver me from mine enemies; John Sheppard's Submit yourselves one to another; Christopher Tye's Blessed are all they that fear the Lord--others are unique to the Chirk Castle part-books. Most important of these are William Mundy's monumental settings of the canticles Te Deum and Benedictus "for trebles" (given their first recording here) which, as the title implies, feature high treble voices while employing the most sophisticated contrapuntal techniques.

I found Edmund Hooper's Behold it is Christ most memorable in its fearless and frequent use of cross-relations--a delightful contrast to the program's more well-behaved entries. William Deane, who apparently was the castle's first music director and who initiated the preparation of the chapel part-books, contributes some of the collection's more engaging and stylistically intriguing works--Deane seems to have learned a thing or two from his much older contemporary Byrd. Indeed, the concluding bars of the anthem O Lord, thou hast dealt graciously are among the disc's highlights.

You will never hear a more judiciously balanced, vocally better matched, nor technically more accomplished choral group than the 12-voice Brabant Ensemble. Founder/director Stephen Rice has assembled an exemplary company of voices aligned with repertoire that ideally suits the group's size and configuration. Combined with excellently recorded sound--from the Merton College Chapel venue favored by many choral ensembles--this production offers a program that's not only historically significant but that's worthy of repeated listening--intellectually involving, aesthetically pleasing, and emotionally engaging. How can you go wrong with that? Highly recommended!

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

1. Te Deum by William Mundy
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 8 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2. Benedictus for Treble Voices by William Mundy
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3. O God, give ear by William Byrd
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1588; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4. Deliver me from mine enemies by Robert Parsons
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5. Songs of Sundrie Natures: Christ rising again "The Easter Anthem" by William Byrd
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
6. Behold it is Christ by Edmund Hooper
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7. Blessed are all they that fear the Lord by Christopher Tye
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 13 Secs. 
8. Burial Service "Ludlow Manuscript" by Anonymous
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 8 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9. O Lord, thou hast dealt graciously by William Deane
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
10. Absterge Domine by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
11. Yield unto God the mighty Lord by Thomas Caustun
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
12. Offertory "Not everyone that saith unto me" by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 0 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: The attribution of this work to Tallis is doubtful. 
13. Submit yourselves one to another by John Sheppard
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
14. O God, the Father of Heaven "Chirk Manuscript" by Anonymous
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 8 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15. O God be merciful unto us, and bless us by John Sheppard
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 5 Minutes 27 Secs. 
16. The grace of our Lord Jesuss by William Deane
Conductor:  Stephen Rice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 1 Minutes 37 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Te Deum "for trebles" "We praise thee, O God" (Mundy)
Behold, it is Christ (Hooper)

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