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Henry Lawes: Ayres / La Reveuse

Lawes / Reveuse
Release Date: 04/09/2013 
Label:  Mirare   Catalog #: 177   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Henry LawesFrances WithyDaniel BachelerNicholas Lanier,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



H. LAWES Ayres & ē La Rêveuse ē MIRARE 177 (66:21 Text and Translation)


& Instrumentals and other vocal works by: W. LAWES, WITHY, BACHELOR, LANIER, NORCOMBE, J. GAULTIER, C. SIMPSON


Mention of a composer named Lawes brings to mind William Lawes (1602-1645), the favorite musician of Charles I, and a Royalist soldier who Read more died in combat. But his older brother Henry (1595-1662) was also held in high regard. He received an appointment as Gentleman to the Chapel Royal, and survived long enough to compose an anthem on the coronation of Charles II. Lawes was commended for his sensitive word-settings; so much so, that Ben Jonson, John Donne, and John Milton among others sought him out. Milton went so far as to write a famous sonnet, ďTo Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires,Ē commending the composer who ďFirst taught our English Musick how to span/words with just note and accent, not to scan/with Midas Ears, committing short and long.Ē Lawes wasnít simply a songwriter, in other words. He set texts to music in a manner that followed the poetís own phrasing.


Little enough of Lawesís music exists in the current record catalog, aside from an occasional consort or lute song on a collection disc, or one that shares the spotlight with his brother (of which, more later). This release, then, is welcome on the grounds of fresh content. Nor does its composer disappoint: whether itís heartbreak, mourning, the sorrows of parting, or the smugly witty, impetuous confidence so typical of the cavalier poets, Lawes usually finds a memorable setting. He makes distinct what might have been generic in anotherís work; so texts that are ostensibly similar in their expressive ends are analyzed and reassembled with all the musical tools at the disposal of composers of Lawesís time and place. He is also adept at creating a structure suitable to each work, whether the setting is as simple and unified as in Have you eíer seen the morning sun , or as complex and detailed as in two poems by Robert Herrick, Whither all her false oaths blown and Iím sick of love . Something of the power of his Italian operatic contemporaries can be caught in the latter. Itís a shame English culture of the time provided Lawes with no opportunity to try his hand at opera.


La Rêveuse is a new name to me, though they have been twice reviewed in Fanfare . Robert Maxham ( Fanfare 34:2; Mirare 105) thought well of their program of early 18th-century French instrumental chamber music, and Bertil van Boer ( Fanfare 35:4; Mirare 125) thought their disc of oratorios and instrumentals by Brossard was ďexcellent.Ē This release of consort songs places the spotlight on tenor Jeffrey Thompson, who possesses an attractive lyric tone, good agility and ornamentation, and excellent control of dynamics. He turns in wonderfully brash performances of Out upon it, I have lovíd , and readings rich in soft colors for such melancholy pieces as Slide soft your silver floods . The more dramatic ones that approach recitative, such as O tell me love bring forth an appropriately vivid response. He is ably seconded by the other members of La Rêveuse, who in turn perform very well a series of solo and group instrumentals interspersed throughout the program. My only regret is that the disc ends with William Lawesís Why so pale and wan, fond lover . Since the album is devoted to Henry Lawes, a more fitting conclusion might have been his Cease you jolly shepherds , in tribute to his brother upon the latterís death.


The only competition out there is a previously mentioned disc split mainly between the Lawes brothers, and featuring countertenor Robin Blaze (Hyperion 67589). Iíve previously expressed pleasure with his performance as Paris in Caldaraís Il più bel nome (Glossa 920310), but he seems far too reticent in Lawesís airs to convey the expressive extremes characteristic of the periodís arts. That canít be said of Thompson, or of La Rêveuse in general. With good, balanced sound and full texts, this is highly recommended.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Slide soft you silver floods by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
2.
Have you e'er seen the morning sun by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
3.
Bid me but live, and I will live by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
4.
Divisions on a Ground by Frances Withy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
5.
Prelude by Daniel Bacheler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
6.
I rise and grieve by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
7.
Or you, or I nature did wrong by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
8.
Neither sighs, nor tears, nor mourning by Nicholas Lanier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
9.
Almain / Corant 1 / Corant 2 by William Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
10.
Whither are all her false oaths blown? by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
11.
I'm sick of love "To the Sycamore" by William Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1648; England 
12.
No more shall meads be deck'd with flowers by Nicholas Lanier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
13.
Tregian’s Ground by Daniel Norcombe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
14.
When thou, porr excommunicate by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
15.
Sleep soft you cold clay cinders by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
16.
Out upon it, I have lov'd by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
17.
Courant by Jacques Gautier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
18.
Cloches Mr Gaultier by Jacques Gautier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
19.
Sweet stay awhile by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
20.
O tell me love! O tell me fate! by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
21.
Divisions on "John come kiss me now" by Christopher Simpson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
22.
Wert Thou Yet Fairer by Henry Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
23.
Why so pale? by William Lawes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La RÍveuse
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1637; England 

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