Notes and Editorial Reviews
AN ENGLISH FANCY • Trio Settecento • CEDILLE CDR 90000 135 (79:47)
BYRD Sellinger’s Rownde. HUME Captaine Hume’s Lamentation. LAWES Suite No. 8 in D. JENKINS Suite No. 2 in g. SIMPSON Suite in g/G, “The Little Consort.”
class="COMPOSER12">BALTZAR John Come Kiss Me Now. LOCKE Suite in B?, “For Several Friends.” PURCELL Ayres for the Theatre. Pavan in B?. Hornpipe from Abdelazer, “Hole in the Wall”
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine will likely need no introduction to any reader of Fanfare. Many of her CDs have been reviewed in these pages, all to unqualified acclaim, and she has enjoyed at least three full-length interviews here as well. Like the Renaissance instrumental ensemble Piffaro, her baroque instrumental group, Trio Settecento, with John Mark Rozendaal on viola da gamba and David Schrader on harpsichord and organ, has recorded a series of discs featuring music from a single given nation. Two of the three earlier entries, An Italian Sojourn and A French Soirée, have likewise received glowing encomiums in these pages. (The third disc, A German Banquet, was apparently not received for review.) Unlike Piffaro, however, Pine informs us in the booklet notes that this will be the last such release by the Trio, with future discs being devoted instead to particular composers. There is also an instrumental shift in this album from its predecessors, in that Pine here has switched from playing a Baroque to a Renaissance violin, a move she discusses in some detail in the booklet.
Trying to figure out whether the particular pieces offered here have been previously issued is a challenge due to idiosyncratic variations in the titles under which they are listed; this disc versus ArkivMusic.com is Exhibit A. The Locke Suite in B? is placed by ArkivMusic under the broader title “Consort” and subtitle “Suite;” the Hume Lamentation has two different listings, under Captaine Hume’s Poeticall Musicke and also under “Lamentations”; the Purcell Pavan is more precisely identified by Arkivmusic as No. 3 for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo. However, ArkivMusic also makes two mistakes; this Jenkins Suite No. 2 is wrongly listed as being the Fantasia-Suite No. 1, a completely different work, and there is no entry for this recording of John Comes Kiss Me Now by Thomas Baltzar (c.1631–63), though six others duly appear.
This does seem to be the only available recording of the suite by Christopher Simpson (c.1605–1669), after Baltzar the least well-known figure represented here. Baltzar was a German immigrant, who was born in Lübeck and studied under Johann Schop. After a brief sojourn at the court of Queen Christiana of Sweden, he came to England in 1655 and created a sensation as a virtuoso viol player. He entered the employ of the court of Charles II after the Restoration in 1660, and according to Charles Burney died from alcoholism due to an excessive love of banqueting. Simpson was better known as a viol player and music theorist than as a composer, with his 1659 treatise The Division Viol being his most important legacy. He was a friend of Jenkins and Locke, and like Jenkins and William Lawes served the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He has sometimes been confused with a Roman Catholic recusant priest of the same name and era. Of the individual shorter pieces on this disc, Byrd’s setting of Sellinger’s Rownde has enjoyed enough fame that later composers have written variations on it (e.g., see my review in 34:5 of the set composed in 1953 by a team of leading British composers, including Benjamin Britten).
Whatever the difficulties in identifying the exact contents of this disc, all of the pieces are once again given exemplary performances. The recorded sound is bright and forward; the booklet provides detailed notes. While regretting the end of this particular series, I look forward to further releases by this excellent ensemble; warmly recommended.
FANFARE: James A. Altena Read less
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