The Rose Consort of Viols was created to play music like this, and the collective and individual virtuosity of the six performers on this disc are on full display throughout the generous (72-minute) program. Particularly satisfying are the selections with organ, whose unique colours add another, very sonorous dimension to the viols' already warm, ear-pleasing consonance. The sound, from the very complementary acoustics of Forde Abbey, is appropriately full-bodied yet intimate. (David Vernier, classicstoday.com)
[…] this deliciously played disc focuses on Alfonso Ferrabosco the first Italian emigrant, lutenist to and, allegedly, a spy for Queen Elizabeth and his son; who refined the formal innovations of his fathers In Nomines, extended the development of the Fantasy, and added continental chromatic daring to the soon-to-be outmoded Pavan. Less acidic than Fretwork, less macho than Hesperion XX, the Rose Consort of Viols have a blend that might have been passed through muslin […] (The Independent on Sunday, July 20, 2003)
"Insgesamt eröffnet die Aufnahme ruhige, intensive Klänge und offenbart eine große klangliche Schönheit - Unterhaltung auf höchstem Niveau." ~klassik.com
Although the first full consort of viols did not arrive in England until 1540, there were actually several intriguing examples of what are now called "consort" music from before that time. Of course, the homogenous viol consort became supreme, and the present program (also featuring some 2-lute arrangements) focuses on the first part of that repertory. This developed at Elizabeth's court in the 1570s & 1580s, among professional musicians, but based on relatively restrictive models. Some pieces in the present program are composed freely, heralding the next step in consort development which, along with the small output of Byrd, allowed the English consort idiom to fully flower. Of course that was followed closely by the even larger and more famous repertory of consort music by composers such as Gibbons which was eventually geared more toward amateur players.
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger (b. Greenwich, c. 1575; bur. Greenwich, March 11, 1628) was an English composer and viol player of Italian descent. Although he gained access to the royal court as early as 1592, it took him almost 10 years to come to the attention of the queen, but in 1601 he became a member of the royal consort of viols. Ferrabosco marks the true beginning of the English Baroque. When Elizabeth I died in 1603, her successor James IV appointed Ferrabosco as music teacher to Henry, Prince of Wales and Ferrabosco continued to work in the king's service, becoming Composer of the King's Music in 1625, in 1626 succeeding John Coprario in the post of official court musician. The respect shown for him by his contemporaries proves that Ferrabosco was the court musician of his day, borne out by the fact that he was also the most copied.
Throughout the world, roses speak an unmistakeable language. They have touched and seduced mankind for thousands of years, while their names and varieties reflect contemporary history.
This LP 'The Pleasures Of The Royal Courts', first published in 1971….