The Tudor Choir Book, Volume II – Review by Cross Rhythms

“The music itself is well worth hearing” 7/10

20th April 2018

The Tudor Choir Book, Volume II – Review by Cross Rhythms

Listen or buy this album:

The Tudor Choir Book, Volume II – Review by Cross Rhythms

“The music itself is well worth hearing” 7/10

20th April 2018

Tudor Choir Book II

Listen or buy this album:

This release is the culmination of 12 months of intensive work and study for the boy choristers of Romsey Abbey. Director of Music George Richford has long believed that contemporary choirboys can engage with Tudor music and that the verse-anthem genre is a suitable starting point. Richford’s interesting and perceptive introductory notes in the CD booklet develop his thinking and outline some of the challenges and other choir directors will find much to think about. The detailed programme notes are also worth reading and give modern listeners a much greater understanding of what these Tudor composers were trying to achieve. Many of the great names of the period are present and correct on this album, including William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, William Mundy, the Thomases Tallis and Tomkins, along with several others from, shall we say, the B-list although with a programme running to just 55 minutes we wonder if perhaps room could have been made for John Taverner. It is interesting to compare and contrast how Thomas Morely and Adrian Batten set the same text: “Out Of The Deep” (Psalm 130). To my ears Morley is more memorable but Batten is not bad. Highlights for me are Byrd’s “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimitis” from his ‘Second Evening Service’ in a new edition prepared by Andrew Johnstone – and I again refer you to the liner notes for the full story. Also I particularly enjoyed the closing “Fancy For A Double Orgaine” by Gibbons, here played by Adrian Taylor on the St Teilo Tudor organ by Goetze & Gwynn and – guess what – if you want more details read the album booklet. In all, this recording will be appreciated by students of musical history and any with an interest in historical research will also be given food for thought. The music itself is well worth hearing and while the Romsey Abbey Choir cannot match the great cathedral or Oxbridge chapel choirs they give us their best which is all we can ask for.

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This release is the culmination of 12 months of intensive work and study for the boy choristers of Romsey Abbey. Director of Music George Richford has long believed that contemporary choirboys can engage with Tudor music and that the verse-anthem genre is a suitable starting point. Richford’s interesting and perceptive introductory notes in the CD booklet develop his thinking and outline some of the challenges and other choir directors will find much to think about. The detailed programme notes are also worth reading and give modern listeners a much greater understanding of what these Tudor composers were trying to achieve. Many of the great names of the period are present and correct on this album, including William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, William Mundy, the Thomases Tallis and Tomkins, along with several others from, shall we say, the B-list although with a programme running to just 55 minutes we wonder if perhaps room could have been made for John Taverner. It is interesting to compare and contrast how Thomas Morely and Adrian Batten set the same text: “Out Of The Deep” (Psalm 130). To my ears Morley is more memorable but Batten is not bad. Highlights for me are Byrd’s “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimitis” from his ‘Second Evening Service’ in a new edition prepared by Andrew Johnstone – and I again refer you to the liner notes for the full story. Also I particularly enjoyed the closing “Fancy For A Double Orgaine” by Gibbons, here played by Adrian Taylor on the St Teilo Tudor organ by Goetze & Gwynn and – guess what – if you want more details read the album booklet. In all, this recording will be appreciated by students of musical history and any with an interest in historical research will also be given food for thought. The music itself is well worth hearing and while the Romsey Abbey Choir cannot match the great cathedral or Oxbridge chapel choirs they give us their best which is all we can ask for.

Review written by:

Review published in:

Other reviews by this author:

Featured artists:

Featured composers: