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Music From The Eton Choirbook / Tonus Peregrinus

Lambe / Tonus Peregrinus / Pitts
Release Date: 08/28/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572840   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Walter LambeWilliam of StratfordAnonymousRichard Davy,   ... 
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MUSIC FROM THE ETON CHOIRBOOK Antony Pitts, cond; Tonus Peregrinus NAXOS 8.572840 (79:00 Text and Translation)


LAMBE Nesciens Mater. WILLIAM, MONK OF STRATFORD Magnificat. DAVY St. Matthew Passion. BROWNE Stabat Mater. KELLYK Read more Magnificat. WYLKYNSON Jesus autem/Credo


This well-filled disc offers a varied assortment of sacred music from the 15th-century Eton Choirbook, compiled between 1500 and 1504 and virtually the only surviving pre-Reformation manuscript of its kind. The contents range from the much-recorded Browne work (its seventh version) to the first recording of the Kellyk piece. The longest work, of course, is the St. Matthew Passion of Richard Davy, its third recording. The Lambe piece comes with the chant antiphon on which it is based, as Harry Christophers did in his first recording. The remaining two pieces have been recorded only once before. With the Kellyk work, we now have 30 pieces on records of the 93 surviving sacred works.


This disc is well positioned against Harry Christophers’s set of five CDs ( Fanfare 17:5), since only three of these works are included on Coro 16002, 16012, and 16022. He recorded the Lambe piece twice for Meridian and Hyperion, but not in the set. The only CD version of the Davy passion is by Ralph Allwood on Chatsworth, while the Kellyk work, as noted, has not been recorded before this. Pitts’s interpretations compare well with Christophers’s. The tempos that Pitts chooses are all a little broader, but not enough to make a difference. Only in Browne’s stunning Stabat Mater (a piece that has been called the finest work in the whole collection) do I find the greater restraint that Christophers brings to his performance compelling. Both are equally effective in building the intensity of the Credo canon. The Davy passion is sung here as it survives in the source, while Allwood used the reconstruction of the entire passion by Frank Llewellyn Harrison, just as Grayston Burgess did in the Argo LP (also on MHS), a rendition more than twice as long. If you can find either of the older recordings of the passion, they make an interesting comparison with the more subdued rendition here. Among the many other recordings from this choirbook, Peter Phillips’s all-Browne disc (29:2) must be mentioned.


Pitts calls this the “jewel in the crown” of his series of “Milestones of Western Music,” which includes the Mass of Tournai and the St. Luke Passion (27:5), as well as works by Perotinus (29:2), Dunstable (29: 5), Adam de la Halle (30:1), and Gibbons (30:5). Although most of the discs faced some competition, not surprisingly, the whole series is greater than the sum of its parts, and Pitts has shown a sensitivity to the range of early music that places him among the leading interpreters. Collectors will want this just for the Kellyk work, but it stands on its own as a single disc of this repertoire.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Nesciens mater by Walter Lambe
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1490; England 
2.
Magnificat by William of Stratford
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
3.
Nesciens mater by Anonymous
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1400 
4.
Passio Domini by Richard Davy
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance  
5.
Stabat mater by John Browne
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1490; England 
6.
Magnificat by Hugh Kellyk
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance  
7.
Credi in Deum/Jesus autem by Robert Wilkinson
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: Renaissance  

Sound Samples

Nesciens mater
Magnificat
Nesciens mater (Sarum chant)
Passio Domini
Stabat Mater
Magnificat
Jesus autem transiens - Credo in Deum

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