Philips: An Englishman abroad (CR007)
Review by Early Music Today
Listen and buy now on Convivium Records
The product of two young graduates, Alexander Norman and Adrian Green, this choral ensemble of young professional singers – and accompanying record label – is a plucky enterprise. Formed in 2009, Convivium Singers have already recorded three discs, including this set of Latin motets by English composer Peter Philips.
The album’s subtitle, An Englishman Abroad, refers to Philips’s permanent exile to the continent on account of his Catholicism. As a result Phillips’s richly layered music is Italianate in style, marking him further apart from his stay-at-home contemporaries such as William Byrd. Convivium’s success with these often complex compositions is mixed. While the ensemble singing in pieces such as the sumptuous Mulieres sedentes flows well, some of the more exposed passages, especially in the higher registers, stretch both ensemble and soloists uncomfortably. There is much to admire in the enthusiasm of this ensemble however – Convivium Singers is a name to look out for.
Tim Woodall, Early Music Today, 20th March 2012
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