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Mr Tomkins, His Lessons Of Worthe / Bertrand Cuiller

Cuiller,Bertrand
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Mirare   Catalog #: 137   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John BullThomas TomkinsWilliam ByrdThomas Tallis
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TOMKINS LESSONS OF WORTHE Bertrand Cuiller (hpd) MIRARE 137 (58:00)


Music of BYRD, BULL, TOMKINS, TALLIS


Thomas Tomkins (1572–1656) is considered one of the lesser lights of the Elizabethan-Jacobean era, but only because he stands in the shadow of such greats as William Byrd, John Bull, and Orlando Gibbons. Whereas the keyboard music of these “three famous masters” was widely circulated, having been published in a Read more collection titled Parthenia (1612), Tomkins’s keyboard music was unknown outside his immediate circle in Worchester, where he served as cathedral organist for most of his adult life. Despite his relative isolation, Tomkins was an astute follower of musical fashion; he assembled three large notebooks of keyboard music that he filled with his own music (the majority) and many works by his contemporaries. In effect, this is Tomkins’s library of favorites, the music he played for his own enjoyment, and because he lived to the ripe old age of 84, it must be regarded as a primary source for English keyboard music of the first half of the 17th century. Tomkins meticulously noted both the date and provenance of each piece, along with comments as to its musical merit, hence the title Lessons of Worthe . An exhaustive essay in the booklet outlines the history and minutiae of the Lessons , for those who are interested.


Although the keyboard music of Tomkins and his contemporaries has been widely recorded, this is the first time, as far as I can tell, that anyone has bothered to assemble a program based on the Lessons . French harpsichordist Bertrand Cuiller has grouped his selections according to key; the first group in A includes the Chromatic Pavan and Galliard of Bull, and concludes with an extended Offertory of Tomkins. These are played on a smallish Italian single-manual harpsichord by Phillipe Humeau—despite its size, this has an intriguingly rich, dark sound, with a pronounced “quint” in the treble. The pieces in G are played on a copy of an early Flemish harpsichord by Malcolm Rose (Lodewijk Theeuwes, 1579); for fans of later harpsichord music, this will be a rather more normal- sounding instrument. This group includes a pavan and galliard by Byrd, an extended Felix namque of Tallis, and two shorter pieces of Tomkins: Robin Hood and a fantasy on Ut, re mi, fa, sol, la. The final group, the pieces in D, is played on claviorganum, and includes an In Nomine of Bull, a ground of Tomkins, and a fantasia of Bull. The clavirorganum is an instrument that combines harpsichord with organ, allowing both to be played from a single keyboard. In this case, the Theeuwes/Rose harpsichord has been coupled with a small chamber organ containing a single, delicious-sounding 8’ diapason.


For the richness and variety of music, this recital can hardly be equaled. Bertrand Cuiller is an expert keyboardist, and his use of three contrasting instruments further illuminates the music and enhances the value of the production. Excellent recorded sound, too—anyone looking for an introduction to the wonders of Elizabethan keyboard music need look no further.


FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen
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Works on This Recording

1.
Chromatic Pavan and Galliard "Queen Elizabeth's" by John Bull
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
2.
Offertory for keyboard by Thomas Tomkins
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 12 Minutes 12 Secs. 
3.
Robbin Hood, for keyboard by Thomas Tomkins
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Pavan and Galliard in G minor no 2, MB 3 "Sir William Petre" by William Byrd
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1591; England 
5.
Felix Namque by Thomas Tallis
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1564; England 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 10 Minutes 25 Secs. 
6.
Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La by Thomas Tomkins
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7.
In Nomine for keyboard (Musica Britannica No 12) by John Bull
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
8.
Ground, for keyboard, MB 40 by Thomas Tomkins
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
9.
Fantasia for keyboard, MB 11 by John Bull
Performer:  Bertrand Cuiller (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  Château de Coussay 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 

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