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Music from the Reign of King James I - Tompkins, Gibbons / James O'Donnell / Westminster Abbey Choir, Robert Quinney, organ

Notes & Reviews:

Westminster Abbey has been the focus of British royal occasions for centuries, and the early seventeenth century saw the most dazzling musicians of the age writing music for the Court in all its various incarnations. This fascinating disc presents a selection of works from the reign of King James I. The most celebrated name on this disc is that of Orlando Gibbons, and some of his most masterly works are presented on this CD. The most eloquent and emotionally intense music recorded here was most likely never intended for performance in the Abbey, but has a particularly Royal relevance. The moving laments of King David have no place in the liturgy, being neither part of the Ordinary of Psalms and canticles. Their composition seems therefore to have been a response to the death in November 1612 of the Prince of Wales, Prince Henry. These are courtly laments, in which the composers give voice — and perhaps vied to give voice most eloquently — to the grief of the King.

"Where words and music most happily merge - for instance in Gibbons's Hosanna to the Son of David - the director and his vocalists exude confidence, animating melodic lines gracefully to reach a satisfying climax. In the largely contrapuntal O clap your hands, O'Donnell's deft handling of voices brings a lovely delicacy to the texture." -BBC Music Magazine ***

"The hero of the disc is...the Abbey's sub-organist Robert Quinney...Stylish, tastefully registered and crisply delivered [the four Gibbons organ pieces] are in their way true gems...many choirs would envy the tight ensemble, impeccable intonation and crystal-clear diction, not to mention the unfailingly excellent solo voices drawn from the ranks of the choir" -International Record Review

"The laments by Tomkins and Ramsey,and Gibbons's "O Lord, in thy wrath", all sung unaccompanied, are moving in their intensity...this recording should be snapped up by all lovers of the period." -Gramophone Magazine


Track Listings
1. Be strong and of a good courage (Tomkins)
2. Great king of gods (Gibbons)
3. O all true faithful hearts (Gibbons)
4. Fancy in C fa ut (Gibbons)
5. Magnificat (Great Service- Hooper)
6. Nunc dimittis
7. O sing unto the Lord a new song (Tomkins)
8. Fancy in Gamutt flatt (Gibbons)
9. When David heard (Tomkins)
10. Then David mourned (Tomkins)
11. How are the mighty fallen (Ramsey)
12. See, see, the Word is incarnate (Gibbons)
13. Fantazia of foure parts (Gibbons)
14. Hosanna to the Son of David (Gibbons)
15. O Lord, in thy wrath rebuke me not (Gibbons)
16. Almighty and everlasting God (Gibbons)
17. Preludium (Gibbons)
18. O clap your hands (Gibbons)

Submitted on 09/21/11 by bj 
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