Gibbons: Consort songs, etc.

Gibbons: Consort and Keyboard Music / Songs and Anthems
Rose Consort of Viols / Red Byrd / Tessa Bonner / Timothy Roberts
Naxos 8.550603

Contents:

  1. Pavan (6 viols)
  2. Galliard (6 viols)
  3. Behold, thou has made my days (5 voices, 5 viols)
  4. The Lord of Salisbury his Pavan and Galliard (harpsichord)
  5. Fantasia No. 1 for two trebles (2 viols)
  6. I weigh not Fortune's frown (soprano, 4 viols)
  7. I tremble not at the noise of war (soprano, 4 viols)
  8. I see ambition never pleased (soprano, 4 viols)
  9. I feign not friendship where I hate (soprano, 4 viols)
  10. Preludium in G (organ)
  11. Go from my window (6 viols)
  12. Dainty fine bird (soprano, 4 viols)
  13. Fair is the rose (soprano, 4 viols)
  14. Fantasia No. 3 (6 viols)
  15. Fantisia No. 5 (6 viols)
  16. A Mask: The Fairest Nymph (virginals)
  17. Lincoln's Inn Mask (virginals)
  18. Allmaine in G (virginals)
  19. Fantasia No. 1 for the Great Double Bass (3 viols, organ)
  20. Galliard (3 viols)
  21. The silver swan (soprano, 5 viols)
  22. In Nomine (4 viols)
  23. Glorious and powerful God (5 voices, 5 viols)

Performers: Tessa Bonner (soprano); Caroline Trevor, Penny Vickers, Ian Honeyman, John Potter, Henry Wickham, Richard Wistreich (voices); John Bryan, Mark Caudle, Alison Crum, Julia Hodgson, Elizabeth Liddle, Roy Marks, Susanna Pell (viols); Timothy Roberts (keyboards)

Playing time: 68'

Recording date: April, May, June, November 1992

Unfortunately, there are very few recordings of Gibbons' consort songs, but this recording contains several fairly well-done. Actually, it is the two verse anthems which are the most impressive pieces here, along with the consort pieces. The harpsichord/virginal pieces are less impressive in these interpretations.

Gibbons wrote some of the finest consort music of the era, and some of the finest chamber music in Western history. The beginning of a fine series highlighting this music:

Gibbons: Royal Fantasies
Music for Viols, Volume 1
Concordia - Mark Levy
Metronome 1033

And a recording specifically featuring Gibbons' keyboard music:

Gibbons: Music for Harpsichord & Virginals
James Johnstone
AS&V "Gaudeamus" 191

It might be worth noting that no less a figure than the eccentric pianist Glenn Gould thought Gibbons one of the greatest keyboard composers.

Some other citations can be found from each of the above links.

The anthems on the present recording are performed in a chamber setting, which would have been typical of the time. These pieces, along with the organ music, were also performed in cathedral settings. A recording which introduces this facet of Gibbons' output:

Gibbons: Choral and Organ Music
Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly
Naxos 8.553130

A mixed program similar to the present one:

Musique Anglaise du XVIIème siècle: Volume I
Orlando Gibbons: The Cries of London and other Musicke Apt for Viols and Voyces
Ensemble William Byrd - Graham O'Reilly
Adda 581169

A recording including Gibbons' consort songs:

Ye Sacred Muses
Consort Songs and Instrumental Music by Byrd & Gibbons
The Royal Consort / David Cordier
Globe 5159

Two classic presentations:

Gibbons: Madrigals and mottets
Madrigals & motets, 1612
Consort of Musicke - Anthony Rooley
L'Oiseau Lyre 512 (LP)
The Silver Swan
Gibbons - Anthems, Madrigals & Fantasies
Deller Consort - Alfred Deller / Schola Cantorum Basiliensis - August Wenzinger
Archiv Codex Series 453 166

The other similarly constituted recordings on Naxos by the present ensemble:

Byrd: Consort and Keyboard Music / Songs and Anthems
Rose Consort of Viols / Red Byrd / Tessa Bonner / Timothy Roberts
Naxos 8.550604
Tomkins: Consort Music for Viols and Voices / Keyboard Music
Rose Consort of Viols / Red Byrd / Timothy Roberts
Naxos 8.550602
Dowland: Consort Music and Songs
Catherine King / Rose Consort of Viols
Naxos 8.553326
Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music
Byrd / Mundy / Parsons / Tallis / Taverner / Tye
Catherine King / Rose Consort of Viols
Naxos 8.554284

And another more obscure item:

Ah, Dear Heart...
Songs, Dances and Laments from the Age of Elizabeth I
Rose Consort of Viols, Annabella Tysall
Woodmansterne 002

Finally, another program including Red Byrd, which illustrates more chamber-style verse anthems:

Elizabethan Christmas Anthems
Red Byrd / Rose Consort of Viols
Amon Ra 46

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Todd M. McComb