Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

Click cover art to view larger version
Track(s) taken from CDH55086

Ah, helpless wretch

composer
author of text

Christopher Royall (countertenor), Paul Nicholson (organ), The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)
Recording details: August 1988
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: July 1989
Total duration: 5 minutes 59 seconds
 
1
Ah, helpless wretch  [5'59]

Reviews

'For a wallow in the richest cream of English Reformation church music you couldn't do much better than this' (Early Music Review)

'Intense brilliance and utter serenity … altogether glorious' (The Times)

'Moving presentation of some neglected wonders of the Tudor era' (Fanfare, USA)
The verse anthems Ah, helpless wretch and The secret sins show the composer adapting late in life and with considerable verve to a new form which would be of enormous significance for the future history of English church music. The essential novelty here is the presence of an independent accompaniment—adapted for organ and church use from the secular lute or viol consort—to a single voice echoed by the full choir. Mundy, with Richard Farrant and Byrd, was the first to develop this genre, which appears to derive from the hugely popular choirboy plays mounted by such as Farrant with choristers from St Paul’s, the Chapel Royal or Windsor. These last had their own theatre at Blackfriars, as well as being hired out for city functions, and were ambiguously celebrated by Shakespeare in Hamlet and excoriated by puritans: ‘Even in her Majesty’s Chapel do these pretty, upstart youths profane the Lord’s Day by the lascivious writhing of their tender limbs, and gorgeous decking of their apparel, in feigning bawdy fables gathered from the idolatrous heathen poets …’—in the case of Ah, helpless wretch none other than the author of The poore Widowes mite, one Christopher Hunnis, Master of the Choristers of the Chapel Royal after Farrant, who wrote the play from which the song comes in 1583.

from notes by Nicolas Robertson 1989

Other albums featuring this work

The Sixteen & The Golden Age of Polyphony
CDS44401/1010CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Search

There are no matching records. Please try again.