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Super flumina Babylonis [12'58]
Lord, let me know mine end [8'02]
Jesu, auctor clementie [2'11]
Be thou exalted, Lord [9'47]
|Tomkins: The Great Service|
A pupil of William Byrd, Thomas Tomkins' technique as a contrapuntalist was second to none, as can be heard in the Great Service or the anthem O God, the proud are risen against me. In this respect alone he was the composer who most obviously cont ...» More
At first sight it is not easy to see why or how Locke wrote concerted Latin works such as Super flumina Babylonis and Audi, Domine, clamantes ad te. Latin motets were sung in Catherine of Braganza’s Catholic chapel by Italian singers, though there is no sign that violins were employed there, and most of Locke’s Latin works survive in sources connected with the Oxford university music school and Edward Lowe, its energetic professor. Locke wrote at least one of his Latin motets for the Oxford music school – Lowe wrote on one of the parts of Ad te levavi oculos meos that it was ‘made by Mr Matthew Locke to carry on the Meetinge at ye musick school. Thursday ye 16th Novem: 1665’ – and it may be that all of them were written for Lowe and his Oxford performers rather than for Catholic services at court. The composer seems to have been living in Oxford at the time in order to escape from the Great Plague, which was raging in London.
Super flumina Babylonis, a setting of Psalm 136, opens with a two-section ‘simphonia’ – the Air and the Saraband of the D minor ‘Broken Consort’ transposed to the sombre key of C minor. Thereafter, the work is a kaleidoscopic patchwork of short sections, contrasting passages of recitative, dance-like triple time and ritornelli in a manner that harks back to the late church music of Monteverdi. Audi, Domine, clamantes ad te, a setting of an unidentified devotional text, has a similar design, though it opens with just a single-section allemande-like sinfonia, and is an even more remarkable marriage of sensuous Italianate textures and angular, surprising English harmonies. Responding to some repeated phrases in the text, Locke uses a triple-time passage as a kind of refrain. Jesu, auctor clementie, a setting of a hymn related to Jesu, dulcis memoria, uses the idiom of the Italian canzonetta, in which the verses are interspersed by a recurring string ritornello. The piece is awkward in places, and may date from the 1640s when Locke was coming to terms with the Italian style.
Locke’s connection with Oxford and Edward Lowe was maintained over a long period, for in 1672/3 he was paid £5 for ‘composing the ode’ for the Encaenia or Act, the annual degree ceremony held in the Sheldonian Theatre; on that occasion, 5 July 1672, ‘Mr Lowe and the Musick’ were paid £319s4d for ‘their service at the Act’ and the Oxford writer Anthony Wood wrote ‘Encaenia; excellent musick’ in his diary. The work in question was almost certainly the ode Descende caelo cincta sororibus, which survives in a score in Edward Lowe’s hand and sets a quaint Latin text that is clearly intended for an academic occasion in the summer; the ‘Oxford Ode’ only developed as a discrete genre after the Sheldonian was opened in 1669. The music, too, suggests a date in the 1670s. The work opens with a two-section prelude that effectively forms a French-style overture, an idiom that Locke and other English composers only took up in the 1670s. And the rushing scales near the opening relate to the overture to his incidental music for The Tempest of 1674 as well as to Purcell’s early ‘Staircase Overture’. The second part of the overture (a saraband in two sections, each repeated with a variation), also returns repeatedly as a ritornello between the vocal sections, an unusual and effective device. As far as is known, this recorded performance is the first since 1672.
It is also hard to see why Locke wrote so much Anglican church music, since he seems to have converted to Catholicism early in life, and never had any formal connection with the Chapel Royal. Nevertheless, he was apparently called upon to write for it in the 1660s when new repertory was needed after the hiatus of the Interregnum. This is certainly so in the case of the great polychoral anthem Be thou exalted, Lord, a setting of verses from Psalm 21, for it was performed in Whitehall Chapel on 14 August 1666 to celebrate Albemarle’s naval victory over the Dutch earlier that summer; Samuel Pepys, who was present, called it a ‘special good anthem’. The piece is designed to exploit the geography of the Chapel Royal. It opens and closes with a ‘grand chorus’ for all the performers – that is, two antiphonal vocal choirs in the decani and cantoris choir stalls on the floor of the chapel, a third vocal choir of soloists in a gallery above, and two instrumental groups: a consort of two violins, two bass viols and two theorbos in a gallery, and a string orchestra in the chapel below. Inspired perhaps by Louis Grabu, the follower of Lully who had recently arrived at court to train the Twenty-four Violins, Locke uses the French five-part orchestral scoring in this piece, with a single violin part, three viola lines and bass violins – tuned a tone below the modern cello.
O be joyful in the Lord, a setting of Psalm 100, is a more conventional example of the sort of Restoration verse anthem familiar to us from the works of Blow and Purcell, with its four-part string writing with two violins, and its dance-like string passages. It was evidently written for the Chapel Royal soon after the Restoration, for its text appears in James Clifford’s The Divine Services and Anthems usually Sung in his Majesties Chappell of 1664. But once again the music survives only in an Oxford source, an autograph score with parts in the hand of Edward Lowe, which was presumably prepared for a performance at the university music school. How doth the city sit solitary, a setting of verses from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, is one of the finest examples of Locke’s marriage of the Italian and English styles. The organ part, which contributes not a little to the work’s rich dissonances, was written out in full by the composer, and is a valuable guide to his style of continuo playing; Roger North wrote that the Italian musicians in the queen’s Catholic chapel objected to ‘his manner of play’, and insisted that their singing be attended ‘by more polite hands’. Lord, let me know mine end became Locke’s most popular work after his lifetime, though it was usually performed in a version that ruined the remarkable effect of the end, conceived for solo voices and marked successively ‘soft’ and ‘softest of all’, by allocating it to the choir.
In this recording we have tried to reproduce the effect of performances in Oxford and London under the direction of the composer. We chose the relatively dry acoustic of Rosslyn Hill Chapel in Hampstead because Whitehall chapel was only about 75' by 30', and the music school at Oxford was even smaller. Male voices are used throughout; women began to sing in English choirs only in the 1770s. The normal practice in the Chapel Royal and at Oxford was to use one-to-a-part strings, but we have used orchestras in Be thou exalted, Lord and Descende caelo cincta sororibus because they were written for special occasions; the score of the former specifies a ‘band of violins’, and the surviving performing material of Oxford academic odes have duplicate string parts. These Oxford parts also reveal that bass stringed instruments played with the violins, leaving the solo vocal sections just to continuo instruments. A variety of continuo instruments were used on occasion at Oxford, including theorbos and plucked keyboards in addition to the music school organ, a four-stop Dallam instrument.
Peter Holman © 1990
|An Englishman Abroad|
'Bursting with irresistable charm and refinement this is a warm and finely blended disc that soothes as well as charms … the sort of recording up ...» More
|Odes on the death of Henry Purcell|
'This disc of inventive and moving music, performed with great affection, demonstrates very clearly what this English Orpheus Series is designed to sh ...
'Recording and presentation are exemplary' (Gramophone)» More
|Four and Twenty Fiddlers|
'It is fascinating to hear for the first time music by Banister and Grabu and Purcell's recently-discovered Staircase Overture' (Gramophone)
'A marvellous introduction to the instrumental world in which Purcell grew up' (Early Music Review)» More
'The fascinating titles do not disappoint. A diverse and entertaining mix, very well presented' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)» More
|Philips: Consort Music|
'This was a record we needed' (Gramophone)
'An important record both musically and historically' (American Record Guide)» More
'The 76 minutes pass all too quickly for this enthralled listener' (American Record Guide)
'A delightful disc' (The Guardian)» More
|Gibbons & Lupo: Music for Prince Charles|
'A wonderful mixture of the most varied music' (The Good CD Guide)
'The playing of the Parley is all that could be wished' (Fanfare, USA)» More
|Bond: Six Concertos in seven parts|
'Wonderfully attractive' (American Record Guide)
'It is difficult to conceive of more stylish playing or more sympathetic recording… This perfect disc offers frequent unexpected delights' (Hi-Fi News)» More
|O tuneful voice|
'This is a record for every library, and for lovers of song. Recommended' (Fanfare, USA)» More
|Roseingrave: Keyboard Music|
'Excellent and comprehensive introduction to Roseingrave's keyboard [works]… plays all with sure technique, musicianship and evident relish' (Organist ...
'C'est donc un vrai plaisir que découvir de si belles oeuvres' (Répertoire, France)» More
|English 18th-century Violin Sonatas|
‘This attractive disc includes two examples by Italians and one Dutch piece … but the natives do pretty well, and the best and most individual wo ...
‘An attractive collection of English violin music of the period … recording and presentation are first-rate’ (British Music Society Journal)» More
|Jenkins: Late Consort Music|
'The Parley … play superbly well, their sprung, alert performances bringing the music sparklingly alive. This really is life-enhancing stuff whic ...» More
|Dibdin: Ephesian Matron, Brickdust Man & Grenadier|
'Three delightful pocket operas' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)
'An hour of unmitigated pleasure. Another splendid addition to Hyperion's English Orpheus series' (Classic CD)» More
|Blow: Fairest Work of happy Nature|
John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Timothy Roberts (harpsichord/spinet/virginals), Paula Chateauneuf (theorbo)
'Full of interest, rich in its varied pleasures and in the high standard of recording and performance' (Gramophone)» More
|Blow: Awake my lyre|
'Red Byrd's recordings have been consistently superb … and this recording is no exception' (Fanfare, USA)» More
'Stylish, elegant performances … Harington's deliciously beautiful Damon and Clora and Linley's deeply affecting 'Alas' … confirm this encha ...» More
|Philips: Keyboard Music|
'Strongly recommended as a step on the path to discovering one of the outstanding musicians of the late 16th/early 17th century' x (Fanfare, USA)
'The complete restoration of a great composer's name may be beyond the capacity of a single CD, but if anything can do the trick, this one ought to. A ...» More
|The Romantic Music|
'This CD is a revelation. Do explore this well recorded, well presented disc' (British Music Society Journal)» More
|Lampe: Pyramus and Thisbe|
'Congratulations to Peter Holman, Jack Edwards and their helpers for a wonderful entertainment and to Hyperion for recording it' (Early Music Review)
'Another rewarding first recording in a valuable series' (Classic CD)» More
|The String Quartet in Eighteenth-Century England|
'This CD is something of a revelation' (Gramophone)
'Fresh and entertaining' (BBC Music Magazine)» More
|A High-Priz'd Noise|
'A high-priz'd noise indeed, with further insights into our rich heritage, performed with fragrance and deep affection. A fine and distinctive release ...
'This admirable disc could hardly have been made, at any rate to this high standard, even twenty years ago. Many of the exquisite pieces on this CD wi ...» More
|Hark! hark! the lark|
'Performances are uniformly superb and often enhanced by imaginative or comic touches. Full marks to Peter Holman and his team for this delightful ent ...
'The best and most painstaking reconstruction of music from Shakespeare's theatres available on disc' (Sydney Morning Herald)» More
|Musique of Violenze|
'Remarquable élaboré, ce récital convainc surtout par la subtilité dynamique de 'interprétation, par la précision de certains jeux rhythmiques et la v ...» More
|Boyce: Peleus and Thetis & other theatre music|
'A very agreeable disc' (Gramophone)
'Another decisive blow to the old chestnut that only Handel wrote anything worth the candle in 18th-century England' (Classic CD)» More
|Vital Spark of Heav'nly Flame|
'Once again Peter Holman's scholarship offers a fascinating glimpse of a neglected repertoire' (BBC Music Magazine)
'An infectious CD bringing to life a neglected period and its forgotten music. What fun parish music must have been for the likes of Jane Austen, Will ...» More
|The Noble Bass Viol|
'Thoroughly recommended' (Early Music Review)
'What the whole disc profitably explores is the sensuousness and versatilty of a unique instrumental voice. Modern composers ought to start exploiting ...» More
'Delightfully sung by Bott and Cornwell to a joyful accompaniment' (Gramophone)
'Stylish interpretations … elegantly shaped wind playing by The Parley of Instruments … the disc provides valuable insight into early 18th c ...» More
|Haydn and his English Friends|
'A fascinating collection … wonderfully atmospheric' (Gramophone)
'Music both major and relatively elementary, but all of it has charm' (Fanfare, USA)» More
'Rasping, rousing and riveting…the freshness and immediacy of the music and musicians are irresistible' (International Record Review)
'It is beautifully played and superbly recorded. A CD to gladden the heart with none of the usual clichés.' (Classic FM Magazine)» More
|Orpheus with his lute|
'The Parley of Instruments, Rachel Brown, director Peter Holman and the Hyperion recording team all deserve applause' (Gramophone)
'With the programme arranged by play rather than chronology, creating an alluring stylistic variety within its 100-or-so-year span, and excellent soun ...» More
'Winchester Cathedral Choir is singing wonderfully well these days … one of the richest of all contributions to the excellent English Orpheus Ser ...
'Well worth exploring' (BBC Music Magazine)» More
|Avison: Concerti Grossi|
'A delightful set … Roy Goodman seems to have made an affectionate study of these works and the results are enchanting. If you are a lover of bar ...
'The music is delightful, the performances scintillating, and the sound excellent. Warmly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)» More
|Boyce: Trio Sonatas|
'Yet another treasurable document of England's musical heritage' (Gramophone)
'The works, large and small, have an air of sweet reasonableness. The fugues are warmly greeted but never aggressively attacked; the string tone in th ...» More
In the three years from 1759 Arne had three smash hits, each an original masterpiece that effectively created a new genre. Artaxerxes, the second of these, was the first attempt to set a full-blown opera seria libretto in English. When Hayd ...» More
|Arne: Six Favourite Concertos|
'Should afford plenty of enjoyment. Recommended … buy it!' (Gramophone)
'Delightful music in delightful performances with outstanding sound. Highly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)» More
|Croft: Te Deum & Burial Service|
'This is choral singing of the highest quality' (Choir & Organ)
'The Pauline acoustics are captured to great effect. The notes are helpful and texts are printed. With little competition this will fill a Croft slot ...» More
|Linley: A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare|
'This charming ode shows [Linley] sharing with Mozart something of that barely definable but unmistakable gift of melodic genius. The music is as beau ...
'There are few discs I expect to enjoy half as much in this year's listening. Very enjoyable, unpretentious music; a disc very well worth trying' (Gra ...» More
'14 instances of the most sheerly glorious sound you are likely to come across in years' (Fanfare, USA)
'This is a revelation! This wonderful programme helps to draw him from the limbo of nearly 400 years of near-oblivion… a programme of astonishingly ri ...» More
|Locke: The Broken Consort|
'Authoritative performances of some very important chamber music for strings … there is no doubting [Locke's] mastery and his greatness. This rec ...
'This disc is delicious' (American Record Guide)» More
|Linley: Cantatas & Theatre Music|
'An outstanding disc in a trail-blazing series: highly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)
'The irresistible music will compel you to acquire this recording' (Early Music Review)» More
|Blow & Draghi: Odes for St Cecilia|
'Peter Holman's flair for drama illuminates the evocative settings of these lesser-known composers. Both conducting and sound quality capture the nuan ...
'As ever, the disc is a revelation … once heard this infectious music is not easily forgotten, which is a tribute to the enthusiasm and convictio ...» More
|Sound the Trumpet|
'Universally full of spirit and charm … both trumpeters are on fine form, sounding effortlessly relaxed and beautifully matched, with an enticing ...
'A thoughtfully planned disc with plenty of variety … expertly directed and stylishly played, this well-filled disc is highly recommended' (BBC M ...» More
'Hyperion's recording is excellent and the booklet, with all texts and good notes, is a model' (Classic CD)
'What a feast is here! Superb, radiant, colourful singing of a perfect selection of Weelkes' music. A finer selection more persuasively sung would be ...» More
|English Classical Violin Concertos|
'Playing of touching beauty in the slow movements and infectious energy elsewhere, supported by a robust and fragrant orchestral accompaniment. Bravo ...
'This disc proves as delightful as it is surprising … a disc of rarities that will give much unexpected pleasure … I heard this CD on its fi ...» More
|Linley: The Song of Moses & Let God arise|
'One of the best finds yet in Hyperion's English Orpheus series' (Gramophone)
'Another indispensable release in the English Orpheus series. The adventurous will find their curiosity amply rewarded' (Classic CD)» More
|While shepherds watched|
A Christmas record with a difference! This jolly disc revives the little-known tradition of ‘gallery music’, suppressed by the Oxford Movement in early Victorian times because it was too cheerful. All fifteen works vitally capture the enthusiasm of a ...» More
|English 18th-century Keyboard Concertos|
'A delightful project' (The Times)
'Los amantes de le buena música encontraran en él elementos de indudable atractivo que sería una lástima dejar escapar' (CD Compact, Spain)» More
|Stanley: Six Concertos in seven parts|
'The players are technically superb, but also play with a grace and lightness which are wholly uplifting' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)
'An attractive record' (Gramophone)» More