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1605 Treason & Dischord - William Byrd, Etc / King's Singers


Release Date: 06/28/2005 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 61   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John DowlandWilliam ByrdRichard DeringPeter Philips,   ... 
Performer:  Mark LevySarah Baldock
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ConcordiaKing's Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The liner notes explain this program's premise, which at the very least is a novel way of presenting some excellent works of Byrd, Dowland, Weelkes, Dering, and Philips (all of whom lived at the time of the event in question) together with a really unusual, fascinating, and thoroughly engaging modern piece by Francis Pott (b. 1957). It's all supposed to relate to the time and place and personalities of England's infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but, except for Pott's 14-minute-long dramatic work, commissioned by the King's Singers for the Gunpowder Plot's "quatercentenary commemoration", none of the musical works is overtly associated with the happenings of November 5, 1605.


Even so, each of the five
Read more 17th-century composers represented here had sympathies (mostly Catholic) and expressed them in various ways. If they were Roman Catholic, this meant either leaving the country (Philips, Dowland) or gaining favor with the monarchy and practicing religion quietly, or in relative secrecy (Byrd). At any rate, the excellent notes provide all the information we need to understand the political situation in 1605 and, using a "where were you on the morning of..." device, explain each composer's whereabouts and ideological/religious inclinations.


What we're not told on the disc's cover is that the program includes a performance of Byrd's wonderful Mass for 4 voices, one of the great Renaissance masterpieces, and although the recording perspective is a bit close for my taste, it's sung to perfection. We also hear another stunning work by Byrd, the Civitas sancti tui, in a wrenchingly beautiful, trademark King's Singers performance. Thomas Weelkes' O Lord how joyful is the King is another highlight (this anthem was written shortly after the failed Gunpowder Plot, probably in thankfulness for the king's life being spared), and the several instrumental selections by Dowland (three from his famed Lacrimae) are ideally chosen and performed.


Listeners will be most taken with--and certainly startled by--Pott's ingenious creation, given the "quasi-Elizabethan" title Master Tresham, His Ducke (he explains its provenance in the notes). Its mix of ancient and modern, including some direct quotes from Byrd, and its dramatic texts make for a compelling 14 minutes, ending with the most delightfully diabolical enunciation of the word "Amen" you will ever hear. I should also mention that in the notes is an "imaginary monologue" by Deborah Mackay in which Byrd "talks us through the events that led up to and followed the unmasking of the Gunpowder Plot." There also are references to the similarities between that event and modern-day terrorism, and to the evils of tyrants and the misguided motivations of "western political opportunists". Yes, no doubt this is an interesting release. Not only is it opportune and thought-provoking, but it's one of the more programmatically bold and musically satisfying discs to appear in a long while.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Lachrimae or Seaven Teares: M. George Whitehead his Almand by John Dowland
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1604; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
2.
Mass for 4 Voices: Kyrie by William Byrd
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1592-1593; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Greek 
3.
My Ladye Nevalls Booke: A Fancie on C by William Byrd
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
4.
Mass for 4 Voices: Gloria by William Byrd
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba), Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Composition written: England (Circa 1592 - Circa 1593). 
5.
Cantica sacra (21), Volume 1: no 2, Ardens est cor meum by Richard Dering
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba), Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1618; Brussels, Belgium 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
Civitas sancti tui by William Byrd
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba), Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; London, England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
Cantiones sacrae, pro praecipuis festis totius anni: Ave Maria gratia plena by Peter Philips
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1612; Brussels, Belgium 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8.
Mass for 4 Voices: Credo by William Byrd
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: Composition written: England (Circa 1592 - Circa 1593). 
9.
Lachrimae or Seaven Teares: Sir Henry Umptons Funerall by John Dowland
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1604; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
10.
O Lord, how joyful is the king by Thomas Weelkes
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
11.
From virgin's womb: Rejoice, rejoice by William Byrd
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
Lachrimae or Seaven Teares: M. Bucton his Galiard by John Dowland
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1604; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 20 Secs. 
13.
Mass for 3 Voices: Sanctus by William Byrd
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba), Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1593-1594; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Mass for 4 Voices: Benedictus." 
14.
Mass for 4 Voices: Benedictus by William Byrd
Performer:  Mark Levy (Viola da gamba), Sarah Baldock (Organ)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1592-1593; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Mass for 3 Voices: Sanctus." 
15.
Master Tresham, his Ducke by Francis Pott
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in English and Latin. 
16.
Mass for 3 Voices: Agnus Dei by William Byrd
Performer:  Sarah Baldock (Organ), Mark Levy (Viola da gamba)
Conductor:  Mark Levy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1593-1594; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2005 
Venue:  St. Andrew's Church, Toddington, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

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