Armada. Music fron the courts of Philip II and Elizabeth I. Fretwork. Michael Chance, Counter-tenor
Classical | 1 CD | XLD | FLAC, LOG, CUE | Scans, Booklet HQ | 372 Mb | TT: 66:30 | RS
Recorded: 1988 DDD | Virgin Classics
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the consort of viols was a common instrumental ensemble in England. The two forms that dominated English consort music were fantasias, a free flowing form, and works based on chant themes. While there were similar traditions in Spanish music, the Iberian style relied more on improvisation and consequently many of the Spanish tunes were never notated. This two-disc set by the English viol consort, Fretwork, explores music from the courts of Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain. The second disc in the set explores the consort tradition in the late Tudor and early Stuart age.
English consort music reached its zenith during the reign of Elizabeth I, and probably no other composer of the English school of this era achieved such glorious results as William Byrd. Byrd is well represented on this recording by such marvelous tunes as 'The Carman's Whistle' and 'In Angel's Weed,' but the best of all is countertenor Michael Chance's singing of Byrd's glorious song "Rejoice unto the Lord."
The Spanish music is equally well performed by Fretwork and some guest artists. Harpsichordist Paul Nicholson is most impressive in a haunting work by Hernando de Cabezón called 'Dulce Memoria.'