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Down, caitiff wretch

author of text

In the paired anthems that begin with the very Italianate descending utterance Down, caitiff wretch, the viols begin as if playing an independent viol fantasy, thereby occluding the point of melodic imitation which follows. Their presence also encourages some serious word-play: in the line ‘whilst heav’nly thoughts do Discant on the ground’, Ward alludes to the improvisatory genre of instrumental music—treble variations or ‘divisions’ on a bass theme or ‘ground’—by having the bass hold a long one-note ‘ground’ while two trebles sing lithe ‘descants’ in close canon above. He also alternates madrigalisms with musical illuminations or heightenings of individual words. Ward the madrigal composer sets three voices for the ‘blessed Trinity’, low notes for ‘lowly creep’, fluttering quavers on ‘winged faith’ and a unison accent on ‘one accord’; Ward the rhetorical musician-interpreter also accents the setting of ‘angels’, which rips the word from its context so as to celebrate an awestruck and sudden intrusion of a seraphic choir who offer praise in song, vision and gesture.

from notes by Laurence Dreyfus © 2014


Ward: Fantasies & Verse Anthems
Studio Master: CKD427Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Part 1: Down, caitiff wretch
Track 6 on CKD427 [5'40] Download only
Part 2: Prayer is an endless chain
Track 7 on CKD427 [5'27] Download only

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