Program: #21-18 Air Date: Apr 26, 2021
Country dances from England with the Musicians de Saint-Julien, plus ballads from the same time both in England and over on our shores with the Phoenix Ensemble.
I. “The Elfin Knight”: Ballads and Dances (Ensemble Phoenix Munich/Joel Frederiksen). Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 901983.
Performers: Timothy Leigh Evans - Tenor, Percussion / Domen Marincic - Viola da Gamba / Sven Schwannberger - Countertenor, Flute, Theorbo, Lute / Sascha Gotowtschikow - Percussion / Helmut Weigl - Colachon, Theorbo / Joel Frederiksen - Bass, Lute, Direction
|Whittingham Faire (The Elfin Knight)||2:45|
|Go From My Window||2:06|
|Go From My Window||1:27|
|Fortune, My Foe||6:48|
|My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home||1:28|
|Farewell, Adieu That Courtly Life||2:06|
|Brave Lord Willoughby||5:10|
|Yonder Comes A Courteous Knight||5:48|
|The Lovers' Tasks (The Elfin Knight)||1:02|
|Farewell, Lovely Nancy||2:59|
|United And Corne Yairds||2:12|
|Ane Scottis Dance||0:51|
|Scarborough Faire (The Elfin Knight)||4:15|
II. The Queen’s Delight: English Songs and Country Dances of the 17th & 18th Centuries (Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch). Alpha CD 636.
This programme reflects the full flavour and richness of English music and the instrumental and vocal repertory it inspired in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The rhythmic impulse of this repertory – sometimes making use of ostinato – culminates in the grounds, jigs, contredanses and so on that were all the rage at the time and led to the publication of John Playford’s collection The English Dancing Master in 1651. Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, showing their familiarity with early sources from England, Scotland and Ireland, also emphasise the melodic aspect of these dances, which in the course of time became sung airs – the soprano Fiona McGown and the baritone Enea Sorini complete a colourful instrumentarium. Finally, the light-hearted dimension of entertainment is present everywhere in this repertory, which was popular in the sense that it was universally practised at the time, achieving a fame that spread far beyond the British Isles.
Alpha Classics • Alpha 636 • ISBN 3 760014 196362 • 1 CD • 1 h 08
- Song: Bonny Kathern Loggy (4:12)
- Bellamira, d’après Solomon Eccles (1618-82) – Greensleeves, d’après James Oswald (1710-69) (3:30)
- Song: The Witty Western Lasse, d’après l’air The Beggar Boy (5:29)
- Emperor Of The Moon – Ormond House (3:25)
- Song: How Vile Are The Sordid Intrigues, Henry Purcell (2:58)
- Sefauchi’s Farewell, d’après Henry Purcell (5.09)
- Song: An Italian Ayre (Fuggi, Fuggi, Fuggi), d’après Henry Lawes (4:22)
- Nobody’s Jig – Black And Grey – Where Will Our Goodman Lie – Maiden Lane (4:20)
- Song: Drive The Cold Winter Away (4:40)
- John Come Kiss Me Now, par Thomas Baltzar (c.1630-63), Christopher Simpson (c.1605-69), Davis Mell (1604-62), Solomon Eccles (6:21)
- Song: When Daphne From Fair Phoebus Did Fly (4:37)
- Scots Rant – Argiers, variations d’après Jacob Van Eyck (1590,1657) (4:55)
- Song: Mr Lane’s Maggot (2:53)
- The Lord Monk’s March, Henry Purcell – Hey To The Camp, James Oswald (3:18)
- Song: A Lad Of The Town, d’après Henry Purcell (3:36)
- Song: Bacchus’s Health, d’après l’air Paul’s Steeple, variations éditée par John Playford et John Walsh (4:30)
III. Rose of Sharon: 100 Years of American Music (Ensemble Phoenix Munich/Joel Frederiksen). Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 902085.
Performers: Joel Frederiksen – bass, guitar and musical direction / Michaela Riener – soprano Kamila Mazalová – Alt / Timothy Leigh Evans – tenor / Karen Walthinsen – violin / Andreas Haas – flute / Axel Wolf – guitar / Domen Marincic – cello
This trove features a varied selection of music–30 pieces in all–that’s smartly presented to keep things interesting, mixing solo, duets, and various ensemble combinations both to show each song to optimal effect and to fully utilize these exceptional voices and instrumental players. However you characterize Frederiksen’s voice–it’s described in the notes as a “coloratura basso profundo” (now there’s a unique category!)–you have to admit you’ve never heard any bass possessing quite this timbre, so agreeably warm, sensuous, expressive, and that also blends so well with its soprano, alto, and tenor ensemble partners.
We’ve heard much of this repertoire before–Shaker hymns, shape-note tunes, Civil War songs, anthems by the thoroughly unremarkable William Billings–but there are some unfamiliar gems here as well, and the performances are invariably infectious, tasteful, creatively arranged, and worthy of repeated listening. The liner notes by Frederiksen are detailed and informative, and include full texts in a separate booklet. This is a collection to treasure both for its historical content and for the sheer pleasure of the voices.
Frederiksen’s opening unaccompanied rendition of the Shaker spiritual Lay me low is an irresistible call to this celebration of early American music, and the closing Hear, O Lord, when I cry, a 19th-century anthem by Philadelphia composer/Moravian Church organist Massah M. Warner for four a cappella voices, makes an equally compelling benediction. The spirit and tradition of this music is almost entirely lost now, but as one who grew up with first-hand experience of camp and revival meeting songs and hymns, and who was present for part of Joel Cohen’s Shaker music recording project, I have to say that this current effort to bring this music to life has a genuine air of sincerity and reverence–and if nothing else, it’s certainly enlivening and entertaining. Frederiksen is an amazing musician and a uniquely gifted singer, and for that reason alone you shouldn’t miss this. 10 out of 10.
Solomon Eccles (1618-82), James Oswald (1710-69), Henry Purcel, Henry Lawes, Thomas Baltzar (c.1630-63), Christopher Simpson (c.1605-69), Davis Mell (1604-62), Jacob Van Eyck (1590,1657)l
Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 901983, Alpha CD 636, Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 902085