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Parthenia - Byrd, Bull, Gibbons / Catalina Vicens

Byrd / Bull / Gibbons / Vicens / Ruso
Release Date: 06/25/2013 
Label:  Carpe Diem   Catalog #: 16298   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William ByrdJohn BullOrlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PARTHENIA Catalina Vicens (hpd); Rebeka Rusò (treble viol, bass viol) CARPE DIEM 16298 (64:54)


BYRD Preludium. Pavana Sr. Wm. Petre. Galiardo (Sr. Wm. Petre) . Preludium. Galiardo Mrs. Mary Brownlow. Pavana The Earle of Salisbury Read more class="ARIAL12b">. Galiardo (The Earle of Salisbury). Galiardo Secundo (The Earle of Salisbury). BULL Preludium. Pavana St. Thomas Wake. Galiardo St. Thomas Wake . Pavana. Galiardo. Galiardo. Galiardo. GIBBONS Galiardo. F antazia of foure parts. The Lord of Salisbury his Pavin. 1 Galiardo (The Lord of Salisbury). 1 The Queenes Command . Preludium


BULL Galliard St. Thomas, Wake! (II). Pavan in the Second Tone. Galliard. Fantasia. In Nomine IX. Canon 4 in 2 (2 in 1 at 4th above, twice). In Nomine V. Dutch Dance. Lord Lumley’s Galliard. Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la. Christe redemptor omnium. Fantasia. Bull’s Goodnight & Alan Feinberg (pn) STEINWAY & SONS 30019 (73:36)


& TOMKINS A Sad Pavan for these distracted times February 14, 1649. BYRD Qui Passe: For my Ladye Nevell. The Galliarde to the Third Pavan. BLITHEMAN Gloria tibi Trinitas. GIBBONS Fantasia. Pavan. REDFORD Eterne rex altissime


The two recordings featured here—both of Renaissance keyboard music—make for a fascinating comparison, due substantially not to the instrument which each artist has chosen (a harpsichord in the first, a piano in the second), but rather for the approach and the temperament that each instrumentalist brings to the music. To some, the question of instrument, however, remains relevant: some purists may argue that the harpsichord is the more valid instrument, as most of this music was originally written for it; in fact, it is this sonority that the composers had in mind when creating these very works. Those same people may argue that the modern piano would never give one a clear picture of the music, as the instrument itself cannot transcend the issues of tuning so specific to the music of this time period. Those in favor of the piano might argue that its “white sound,” capable of imitating virtually any instrument, is perfectly suited to capturing a plethora of sonorities in the right hands. They might also argue that this primarily contrapuntal music can best be delineated on an instrument capable of dynamic shadings. And who would be right? They both would. Each instrument has it strengths and its weaknesses, but the aforementioned approach that each artist takes here proves just this very point, making the case for not one, but both versions.


The first recital features the harpsichordist Catalina Vicens in a performance of the complete ­ Parthenia— the very first music ever printed for the virginal, around 1613, and presented to Princess Elizabeth Stuart and Prince Frederick V, Count Palatine of the Rhine, as a wedding gift. There are numerous features of the work which one can associate with their dedicatees, as Anthony Rooley, in his very excellent and informative booklet notes relates: “Elizabeth had regular music lessons with Dr. John Bull and it is clear that she had genuine musical talent. Her new partner was to be regaled with her performing skills—hence the reason for a collection of ‘virginall’ music […] from his pure bride as they travelled through Protestant Europe to their new home: first call Heidelberg! In the collection, there are numerous references to their union, not least being the play on ‘E’ and ‘F’—of course their first name initials, alphabetically adjacent, and musically explored too.”


The collection makes for a lovely recital as it highlights many of the genres prevalent in the day—improvisational preludes, contrapuntal fantasias, jubilant dances in both duple and triple meters, and ground-bass variations—and also highlights the varied approaches to these different forms: the serious grandeur of Byrd is unmistakable as Byrd, just as the youthful jubilancy of Gibbons is as Gibbons. Throughout the recital Vicens favors an improvisational approach in much of this music, not only where one would expect it—the preludes, for instance—but in the dance music as well. In Byrd’s Pavana Sr. Wm. Petre , for example, her ability to maintain a basic metrical pulse, while still creating a sense of improvisation in her highly free treatment of running passages and her uninhibited way with ornamentation (the music provides a mere skeleton for her numerous embellishments) is magical. In two examples, Gibbons’s Galiardo (The Lord of Salisbury) and The Queenes Command , Vicens is joined by Rebeka Rusò on viol. The music here comes from a later collection of works entitled Parthenia Inviolata —that is an “in- viol- ated” collection, or rather a collection which is set for keyboard and viol. It is especially fascinating to hear these more well-known pieces with their respective accompaniments performed so exquisitely as here, though with the short timing of the disc (at just under 65 minutes) it might have been nice to hear these alongside the original versions rather than instead of them.


The second recital comes from the intriguing mind of Alan Feinberg. Though known primarily as a pianist interested in newer works (he has recorded and performed everything from Ives, Cage, and Adams to Wuorinen, Feldman, and Ligeti), he has here come up with an especially interesting program of Renaissance music. Entitled Basically Bull , the pianist’s recording features the music of John Bull interspersed with numerous works by his contemporaries. In the spirit of exploration he calls much of the repertoire on the current disc music of the “16th and 17th century avant-garde.” Treated as such, the music gains a vigor and an interest for our more modern ears. And where Vicens fully embraces her instrument’s potential, so does Feinberg: he is an unabashed, unapologetic pianist in this recital, and we are all the more fortunate for that. The very first selection, Tomkin’s A Sad Pavan for these distracted times , is beautifully shaped, carefully voiced, and delicately shaded; it forms the perfect prelude to this extremely colorful world. When compared to Vicens’s improvisatory approach to the dance movements, Feinberg’s pavans and galliards are slightly quicker in tempo, more rhythmically alert, more playful in character, and feel overall more dance-like in spirit—the pianist’s energy and drive are key to his success in making the simple two-minute Galliard (track 5) and the In Nomine V (track 11) into the miniature masterpieces which they prove to be in his hands. Perhaps even more beguiling, though, is his way with the simpler passages—those in Redford’s Eterne rex altissime , for example—which sound so very relaxed and natural, and there can be no bigger compliment than that. After listening to this recital, one can only wonder why this music has not become more of a staple in the repertoire of all pianists like the music of Bach and Scarlatti has. This is, simply put, the finest recital of Renaissance keyboard music on piano since Glenn Gould’s “Consort” album (featuring music of Byrd and Gibbons, with the G-Dorian Fantasia of Sweelinck later added when transferred to CD).


The two recitals here are filled with great music in great performances. And whether one prefers Renaissance keyboard music on the harpsichord or the piano, one can choose between two distinguished and fascinatingly different approaches to this repertoire. Both are recorded in spacious sound; while Vicens’s recording is just a bit more reverberant than Feinberg’s (all to her benefit) and comes with slightly more insightful program notes, both of these recordings deserve a place in your collection. I can promise you one thing, at least: they both only get better with repeated listening.


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

1.
Praeludium by William Byrd
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
2.
Pavan and Galliards (2) in A minor no 2, MB 15 "The Earl of Salisbury" by William Byrd
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1613; England 
3.
Pavan and Galliard in G minor no 2, MB 3 "Sir William Petre" by William Byrd
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1591; England 
4.
Galliard in C major no 4, MB 34 "Mistress Mary Brownlow" by William Byrd
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1613; England 
5.
Praeludium by John Bull
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
6.
Pavane by John Bull
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
7.
Pavan and Galliard "St. Thomas Wake" by John Bull
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
8.
Galliard by John Bull
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
9.
The queen's command by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 17th Century; England 
10.
Pavane and Galliard "Lord Salisbury" by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 17th Century; England 
11.
Galliard by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
12.
Fantasia à 4 by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
13.
Preludium by Orlando Gibbons
Performer:  Catalina Vicens (Harpsichord)

Sound Samples

Preludium: (Italian Harpsichord - copy)
Pavan and Galliard No. 2 in G minor, "Sir William Petre": Pavan
Pavan and Galliard No. 2 in G minor, "Sir William Petre": Galliard
Preludium: (Italian Harpsichord - original)
Galliard in C major: No. 4. Mistress Mary Brownlow
Pavan and 2 Galliards in A minor, "The Earl of Salisbury" (arr. S. MacHale): Pavan
Pavan and 2 Galliards in A minor, "The Earl of Salisbury" (arr. S. MacHale): Galiardo
Pavan and 2 Galliards in A minor, "The Earl of Salisbury" (arr. S. MacHale): Galiardo No. 2
Prelude
St. Thomas Wake pavan and galliard: Pavan
St. Thomas Wake pavan and galliard: Galliard
Pavan No. 2
Galiardo: (Double Virginal)
Galiardo: (Spinettino)
Galiardo: (Italian Harpsichord - original)
Galliard
Fantasia in C major
Pavan and galliard Lord Salisbury: Pavan
Pavan and galliard Lord Salisbury (arr. C. Vicens for harpsichord and cello)
The Queen's command (arr. C. Vicens for virginal and cello)
Prelude No. 2 in G major

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