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SIG 009
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SIG 009

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book - Transcriptions for a mixed consort

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2007

Originally recorded in 2007

Artists:

Charivari Agréable



Venue:

St Andrews Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire

1-3 Feb 1999

Producer:

Adrian Hunter



Engineer:

Adrian Hunter



Record Label
Signum

Genre:

Chamber




Total Time - 69:22
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WILLIAM BYRD

(1543-1623)
1 

Walsingham

5:52
  (b, i, j, k, h)  
 

GILES FARNABY

(ca. 1563-1640)
2 

Loth to depart

3:43
  (e, m)  
 

THOMAS MORLEY

(1557/8 -1602)
  (arr. William Byrd)  
3 

O Mystress Myne

4:16
  (b, e, i, j, k)  
 

GILES FARNABY

4 

Lord Zouches Maske

2:27
  (a, h, i, j)  
 

JOHN BULL

(1562/3 -1638)
5 

Ut re mi fa sol la

5:33
  (b, i, j, k)  
 

WILLIAM BYRD

6 

Pavana

4:04
  (b, e, i, j, k)  
7 

Galiarda

1:22
  (b, e, i, j, k)  
 

GILES FARNABY

8 

Daphne

5:16
  (b, e, i, j, k)  
9 

Up (T) ails All

5:17
  (a, e, h)  
 

WILLIAM INGLOTT

(1554-1621)
10 

The Leaves bee greene

3:35
  (b, g)  
 

MARTIN PEERSON

(1571/3-1651)
11 

The Fall of the Leafe

1:11
  (g)  
 

JOHN BULL

12 

The King's Hunt

3:50
  (b, d, h, i, j, k, l)  
 

ORLANDO GIBBONS

(1583-1625)
13 

The Lord of Salisbury his Pavan

6:13
  (e)  
 

WILLIAM BYRD

14 

Rowland

2:18
  (c, j)  
 

ANONYMOUS

15 

Alman

1:44
  (c, j)  
 

JAN PIETERSZOON SWEELINCK

(1562-1621)
16 

Praeludium Toccata

5:50
  (c, f)  
 

PETER PHILIPS

(1560/61-1628)
17 

Amarilli di Julio Romano

3:26
  (b, e, h, j, k)  
 

WILLIAM BYRD

18 

Gipseis Round

3:25
  (a, e, h, i, j, k, l)  


Music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, transcribed for mixed consort.
                  

"an inspired concept...outstanding in every respect"

(CD of the Month - BBC Music Magazine)

 

"... there is much to enjoy on this CD, not least the sense of competitive fun and games the players bring to the more rumbustious numbers, such as Byrd’s rollicking Gipseis Round."

John Bryan

Gramophone Early Music - Aut

"Once, this collection of early 17th-century pieces was fair game for the piano; then, in the name of "authenticity", only virginals would do. Now, in the true spirit of their age, 18 numbers appear transcribed for a wonderfully colourful mixed consort. The process is justified by know contemporary practice - dances, for instance, were freely transferred between media. Many of the pieces were themselves arrangements. Ballad tunes generated sets of spectacular variations. But if you still doubt the principle, the sound will convince you: this is an inspired concept, played with the exuberance and commitment which presupposes technical mastery of the highest order. Recording quality is superb, alive to the scrape of bows on strings, the snap of fingering, yet never oppressively close.

The ensemble’s variety is endless: tenor viol plays a recurring melody at three registers, bathed in organ polyphony; tenor Rupert Jennings sings original song texts above the new instrumental variations (requiring the recomposition of missing bars); Bull’s cerebral fantasia on 17 transpositions of a scale takes on new life as viols clarify the counterpoint - especially effective with violin ingeniously matched with treble viol - while his King’s Hunt is positively orchestrated with dramatic silence and extended flute trills. Outstanding in every respect."

George Pratt

BBC Music Magazine - December 1999

"If you are adverse to early music groups playing arrangements, perhaps you should read no further, but then on the other hand, perhaps you really should! Charivari Agréable’s forte is playing arrangements‹very carefully researched arrangements, and certainly following historical practice in which it was popular for a composer to make a setting of another composer’s piece, long before the days of copyright lawyers! The group is one of the UK’s most outstanding ensembles and it has an international reputation for fresh and yet scholarly approach to early chamber music. The ensemble consists of flutes, various pluckies and keyboards, violin and viols‹the latter played by Susanne Heinrich, Susanna Pell and Reiko Ichise.

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book album uses the whole ensemble and presents such favorites as Byrd’s Walsisngham and Rowland, Morley’s O Mistress Mine,Inglott’s The leaves bee Greene and Peerson’s The Fall of the Leafe. The arrangements are copyrighted by various members of the group.

Particularly arresting on this CD was Bull’s Ut re mi fa sol la because of its chromaticism. The piece is based on the hexachord and daringly modulates through all 12 keys. Since Fitzwilliam is for keyboard, it suggests that some form of equal temperament or a keyboard with split keys must have been used. But there is no sound evidence of either equal temperament or split keys in England during Bull’s time, so it has been surmised that the piece may have been conceived for viols (like the hexachord fantasias by his contemporary Alfonso Ferrabosco II) and later adapted to keyboard.

Particularly enchanting on this CD were the violin divisions in Farnaby’s Daphne. Also special were the gutsy King’s Hunt (Bull) and Gipseis Round (Byrd). These two were done with full ensemble, and it’s fun to follow the keyboard score and see what clever things were done texture-wise in the scoring. Byrd’s Rowland divisions make a wonderful duet for two bass viols and are admirably played by Susanne H. and Susanna P. There is also a handful of non-English pieces of which Sweelinck’s Praeludium Toccata is an outstanding duet on this recording, as performed ravishingly by Susanne Heinrich and Lynda Sayce [theorbo]."

Martha Bishop

Viola da Gamba Society of America News - March 2001

"... This is a thoroughly enjoyable release, sensitively played and spaciously recorded, and is guaranted to be a source of pleasure to lovers of English music of the period."

Ian Payne

Lute Society Newsletter - April 2000

"These are transcriptions. Since I love the keyboard idiom in the Fitzwilliam, it was at first hard for me to imagine a translation to a new medium. But after hearing those incredibly difficult passages in Byrd’s ’Walsingham’ whip by at a speed unthinkable on the harpsichord (with the possible exception of Pierre Hantai), I was convinced. The noble and gentle viol seems to be a remarkably adaptable instrument.

Kah-Ming Ng, of Charivari Agreable (a group formed at Oxford University in 1993), did all the transcriptions, and he certainly picked some beauties. The two seven-course lutes playing Farnaby’s ’Loth to depart’ are pure magic, for example. And I’ll even argue that some of the pieces work better in consort arrangements anyway: the counterpoint in Bull’s masterly fantasia ’Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la’ makes a powerful impact on viols. A special treat is the sudden appearance of a human voice in the pieces that refer to sung texts - Morley’s ’O Mistress Myne’ (as arranged by Byrd), Farnaby’s ’Daphne,’ and Caccini’s ’Amarilli’ (arranged by Peter Philips). Rupert Jennings’s supple, unobtrusive tenor fits the homogenous blend of the broken consort perfectly."

Rob Haskins

American Record Guide - May 2000



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