Robin Blaze (countertenor), Winchester Cathedral Choir, David Hill (conductor), Sarah Baldock (organ)
Gibbons sang in the choir at King’s College Cambridge with his brother, became a student at the University and went on to sing at the Chapel Royal when James I was on the throne. By 1625, the year of the composer’s death, Gibbons had become the senior organist.
The music—originally set with an accompaniment provided by viols—seems brilliantly matched to the words: the question ‘Who art thou?’; the long notes at ‘and said plainly’; the florid reply ‘I am not the Christ’; the rising figure at the question ‘Art thou Elias?’. There are three sections for the soloist; each is answered in turn by the choir ending with the step-wise phrase sung immediately by all: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’.
from notes by William McVicker © 1997