Virtual Maestro di Cappella
thereafter, Gibbons found a post in the household of a new Prince of Wales (later Charles I) in 1616. It resulted in an opus or two of innovative string chamber music. His ‘In Nomines’, though, reflect an older world. Composition developed around its cantus firmus, unchanged from a Mass movement of the 1540s by John Taverner, in creative emulation. That mid-Tudor fashion underwent decline, then surprising revivals: the Jacobean one instigated, maybe, by the court violist Alfonso Ferrabosco Junior, English-born son of the only Italian ever to pen In Nomines while visiting England. His set of three refers to his own father, in chief. Gibbons may parallel those, and rings similar changes, but also strikes a balance with tradition. His sweetest and serenest traces Taverneresque motifs more sinuously, yet finds room for fleeting insertion of an unusual dissonant self-quotation from fantasia: a poignant, slow-paced quasi-madrigalian ‘cell’.
from notes by David Pinto © 2017