Performers: The Choir of the King's Consort: James Bowman, Robin Blaze, Robert Harre-Jones, Charles Humphries, Bernhard Landauer, Peter Nardone, Richard Wyn Roberts: countertenor; Andrew Carwood, Charles Daniels, Duncan MacKenzie, Rodrigo del Pozo, Angus Smith, Paul Tindall, Matthew Vine: tenor; Stephen Charlesworth, Julian Clarkson, Robert Evans, Christopher Foster, Tom Guthrie, Damian O'Keeffe, Charles Pott: baritone; Simon Birchall, Robert MacDonald, Richard Savage: bass.
The King's Consort: Simon Jones, Rebecca Miles: violin; Jane Rogers, Katharine McGillivray: viola; Jane Coe, Katherine Sharman, Imogen Seth-Smith: cello; Mark Levy: violone; David Miller, William Carter, Lynda Sayce, Elizabeth Kenny: chittarone; William Carter: guitar; James O'Donnell, James Johnstone, Gary Cooper: organ; Charles Fullbrook, Peter Beament, George Lawn, William Lockhart, Michael Skinner: drum; David Staff, Adrian Woodward, Susan Addison, Abigail Newman, Tom Lees: fanfare trumpet; Jeremy West, David Staff, Adrian Woodward, Theresa Caudle: cornett; Susan Addison, Adam Woolf: alto sackbut; Susan Addison, Richard Cheetham, Philip Dale, Mark Horton, Tom Lees, Abigail Newman, Paul Nieman, Adam Woolf: tenor sackbut; Adrian France, Patrick Jackman, Anthony Leggett, Andrew Harwood-White: bass sackbut
Playing time: CD 1: 47' 28", CD 2: 41':43"
Recorded February 23-25 1998, St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, UK
Recorded nearly ten years after Paul McCreesh's landmark A Venetian Coronation 1585, this CD is very McCreesh-like in its attempt to re-create a specific moment in time: the Sposalizio. This festival was held every year on Ascension Day and included various public entertainment and a two week long fair. The music recorded here, speculative as was McCreesh's, tends towards the magnificent, which fits a Venetian festival. Although some of this music has been recorded by other ensembles, King avoids the early Baroque "warhorses." The set includes works by lesser known composers such as Viadana, Massaino, and Gussago. Also not to be missed are the under-recorded motets and madrigals by Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli. Andrea's works have been unjustly neglected in the early music revival, but these performances show that his talent took a back seat to no one. The recorded sound is bright, clear, and spacious. King never loses control of his vast forces. The one misstep in the entire recording is an extremely slow tempo for the closing Sonata, which drags the music to a stop; a minor quibble in an otherwise splendid CD set. The accompanying booklet is a model of clarity explaining the details of the festival as well as the intricacies of the recording.
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