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The Service Of Venus And Mars / Page, Gothic Voices


Release Date: 02/09/2010 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55290   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John DunstableLeonel PowerPhilippe De VitryAnonymous,   ... 
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 45 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

You can hear why this won an Award right from the beginning of the first band: a rich, clear sound with excitement in virtually every note, as Margaret Philpot and Rogers Covey-Crump rollick their way through Philippe de Vitry's rhythmical intricacies. Go on through the record, and you can't help noticing that in each piece the singing has its own colour: it is a virtuoso display of the different approaches (whether in tone production, intonation, tempo or scoring) appropriate to an anthology of works covering over a century of musical history. Gothic Voices seem to have moved into a new gear with this record. And whenever there is the slightest danger that the ear may tire of unaccompanied vocal sound there is an interlude with Andrew Read more Lawrence-King weaving magic on his harp. But there is surely another reason for the prize. The record is a 'concept album' put together with uncanny skill. Christopher Page's fascinating notes belong in a special category by themselves, supported with well-chosen pictures to create a mood receptive to this unfamiliar music. And he is lucky to have the support of Hyperion, who clearly do not begrudge the extra cost and care needed for the presentation.

-- Gramophone [10/1988, reviewing the original release of this title, Hyperion 66238]

There is nothing new about this recording - now almost a quarter of a century old. But its freshness and vitality make it as enjoyable as ever.

The disc’s subtitle, Music for the Knights of the Garter, 1340-1440, is rather misleading. One expects a volume of musical works composed specifically for meetings of the august aristocratic club, founded by Edward III in 1348. Instead, it is a mixed collection of vocal and instrumental pieces possibly heard at the households of various noble members of the knighthood, ranging from Edward III himself, to his great grandson Henry V.

But no matter. The music itself is beautiful and exceptionally well performed. The vocal tracks are divided into secular and church works by mainly French and English composers, and these are interspersed with tunes played on medieval harp by Andrew Lawrence-King. Several pieces are devoted to the then-fashionable veneration of the Virgin Mary (Philippe De Vitry’s ‘Gratissima virginis’ on track 1), while others present extracts from the mass. But their yearning intensity bear strong resemblances to the secular works in the tradition of courtly love, such as the charming but anonymous ‘Ther is no rose of swych virtu’ (track 7). Many of these are strongly reminiscent of some of the tracks on Gothic Voices’ disc of music from the late fourteenth century, The Castle of Fair Welcome (also available on Helios). The quality of music on that disc is probably superior, although The Service of Venus and Mars has the edge in terms of variety.

Gothic Voices under their director Christopher Page are excellent. The warmth and humility in their voices turn what could have been a dryly academic disc into something much more relevant and alive. Margaret Philpot’s solo contralto voice in the traditional ‘Lullay, lullay’ (track 5) is particularly affecting. The recorded sound, too, is intimate and clear. As well as interesting notes, Helios have included full texts and translations, making this a real value-for-money disc.

-- John-Pierre Joyce, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Speciosa factor est, MB 50 by John Dunstable
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2. Sanctus by Leonel Power
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3. Gratissima virginis by Philippe De Vitry
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4. Singularis laudis digna by Anonymous
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5. De ce que fol pensé by Pierre de Molins
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: French 
6. De ce fol pense by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
7. Lully, lulla, thow littel tyne child "Coventry Carol" by Traditional
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8. Gloria by Pycard
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
9. Ther is no rose of swych vertu by Anonymous
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1420; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
10. Las, que me demanderoye by Franchois Lebertoul
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Le gay playsir by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
12. Le grant pleyser by Anonymous
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
13. Quam pulchra es by John Pyamour
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
14. Sanctus by Soursby
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
15. Je vous pri que j'aye un baysier by Richard de Loqueville
Performer:  Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
16. Agincourt Hymn by Anonymous
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  St Jude's Church, Golders Green, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Gratissima virginis (Vitry)

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