21 tracks 61 minClick here to preview trk 3
Great music from the court of Elizabeth I
Glorious music from the rich and glamorous court of Queen Elizabeth I, mostly composed by her favourite musician, William Byrd. Viols, flutes, recorders, lutes and voices combine in an evocative programme of songs and dances reflecting the tastes of England's first golden age.
Glorious music from the rich and glamorous court of Elizabeth I, composed by her favourite composer, William Byrd (1543-1623), and other musicians of her time. Viols, flutes, lutes and voices combine in a striking programme of songs and dances. Great music for a cheerful Sunday morning!
1 La Rosignall Jane Pickering
2 Duncomb's Galliard Anonymous
3 The Frog Galliard Thomas Morley
4 O Noble England - Mounsier's Almaine William Byrd
5 Lord, in Thy Rage William Byrd
6 Rejoice unto the Lord William Byrd
7 Time stands still John Dowland
8 Bergamasca Anonymous
9 In Angel's Weed William Byrd
10 The Batchelar's Delight Richard Allison
11 The Ladye Frances Sydney's Almain Richard Allison
12 The Widow's Mite Daniel Bachiler
13 O Mistress Mine Thomas Morley
14 Out of the Orient Crystal Skies William Byrd
15 Susanna Fair William Byrd
16 In Nomine John Tavener
17 Pavan Thomas Lupo
18 Say Love if Ever Thou Didst Find John Dowland
19 Drewries Accordes Anonymous
20 Fantasia a 3 William Byrd
21 Fantasia a 4 William Byrd
The Elizabethan Consort
Sara Stowe, voice
Sharon Lindo, violin
Wendy Hancock, treble viol and flute
Lynda Sayce, lute
Imogen Seth-Smith, bass viol
Stewart McCoy, cittern, lute, tenor viol
Roderick Morris, bass viol
Matthew Spring, bandora, lute and bass viol
P & C 2003 Classical Communications Ltd
Image: Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait, c.1588, attributed to George
Gower (1540-96), Woburn Abbey/Bridgeman Art Library
Made in Great Britain
Elizabeth I's court was a great place to be a musician, and opportunities to make music were all around, whether for use in religious services, or for pleasurable moments during entertainment and relaxation. William Byrd was the queen's particular musical favourite, but this did not exclude others such as Morley or Allison from getting a hearing. This album concentrates on the secular rather than the sacred, and, from music in praise of the Queen, and of England, to dance tunes and songs, it presents a selection of many of the types of music which a courtier in late sixteenth century London would have heard and known.
A wide range of instruments can be heard, from the plaintive viols in various sizes, large and small, to lutes and flutes and their more familiar sounds. The viols are especially important, since they give a good sense of the sounds world of the English Renaissance. These instruments, like modern day violins and cellos, are played with the bow, but even the smallest of them, the treble viol, is played resting on the knees. The viols have frets, like guitars and lutes, and their antique sounds are especially evocative of ages past. Many of the pieces are songs, accompanied by a 'broken consort' - various instruments, plucked, bowed and blown, to make a superbly rich sound, like that of a miniature orchestra. Particularly noticeable in this consort is the fine lute part, which scurries about in between the slower notes of the bowed instruments, in fine virtuoso form. The violin seems always to have the tune, but careful listening will reveal that each instrument has its own importance. The bass instruments in this consort include the viol, and the unusual bandora, a sort of large guitar invented in 1562, which was considered an essential part of such a group.
The viols also play a separate group, including a beautiful fantasia by William Byrd. In the 'Fantasia a3', these instruments are joined by the singer. She sings the notes of her part as 'sol-fa', creating an interesting, semi-instrumental role for the voice. Although this seems unusual to us now, it was a typical feature of performances in Elizabeth's time. The abstract sounds are soothing, and we can focus on the purity and beauty of the singer's tone. Sara Stowe has one of the finest voices for this music of any, and she is ably accompanied by the Elizabethan Consort, a group of musicians brought together specially for this recording.