A collection of Motets, songs and consort music by William Byrd and Peter Philips by award-winning Rose Consort of Viols, featuring mezzo-soprano, Clare Wilkinson
Focusing on two eminent composers from the English Renaissance period, this disc of historic gems includes Philips’ earliest surviving piece ‘Pavan’ dated as 1580 and two works published in Byrd’s last song collection from 1611. It is suggested that Philips’ intense ‘Pavana Dolorosa’ was composed in 1593 while the composer was incarcerated on suspicion of plotting against Queen Elizabeth and although none of his original fantasias for viols have survived, Jacobean players frequently took vocal pieces to perform instrumentally. This is the case with the two six part pieces also featured on this album, now given the title Fantazia.
The collection also includes rare examples of Byrd’s writing for voice and five viols, in which he uses the treble to create a delicate descant above the sung line and Latin motets. Byrd was preoccupied by the composition and publication of motets set to sacred texts in Latin throughout his career, despite the scarce opportunities for them to be performed in public during his lifetime in Protestant England.
The award-winning Rose Consort of Viols takes its name from the celebrated family of viol makers whose work spanned the flowering of the English consort repertoire. With its blend of intimacy, intricacy, passion and flamboyance, this music (ranging from Taverner and Byrd, to Lawes, Locke and Purcell) forms the basis of the Rose Consort’s programmes. Their concerts often include guest soloists such as mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, featured on this recording.
The Consort performs regularly at the York Early Music Festival and have also performed at the BBC Proms, London’s Cadogan Hall with vocal ensemble Tenebrae and National Gallery as well as venues throughout Europe, Canada and the USA.
"... The Rose Consort’s playing is precise and effortless. Phrasing is beautifully executed both on an individual level and as an ensemble but it is their interaction with Clare Wilkinson which dazzles here. Wilkinson’s subtle intonation, phrasing and tone allow her to blend at will with the consort. Her singing style, speech-like in its purity, together with period pronunciation of English and Latin lend moving wieght to Byrd’s ’With Lillies Whhite’ and ’Wretched Albinus’, two highlights of this recording. This is true harmonic oratory. highly recommended." *****
Samuel Stadlen - Early Music Today magazine - March-May 2015
Editor’s Choice - Vocal Section
"...These are impressive interpretations. The Rose Consort’s tone is placid and soft-centre but they cope very well with energetic passagework. This isn’t faint praise, for there’s surely room for a more relaxed approach than the exhilarated calisthenics of Phantasm. Clare Wilkinson turns in perhaps the finest performances I can remember from her in this repertory..."
Fabrice Fitch - Gramophone magazine - Awards Issue 2014
"... The programme and the performances on this disc are superb. In particular the tempi are judicious throughout, allowing all that this fine music has to offer to make its impact... it remains merely to recommend this disc unreservedly, to applaud the participants, and to hope for more of the same ..."
Richard Turbet - Early Music Review No 160 - June 2014