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Although the unconverted Jews had been banished from the Kingdom since 1290, England's musical life between 1550 and 1650 was virtually monopolised by the crypto-Jewish dynasties of the Bassano and Lupo families of composers and performers.Adding a contemporary echo, the programme includes the first recording of Birds on Fire by Orlando Gough (born 1953). One of UK's most important composers for ballet, dance and theatre projects, here Gough found his inspiration in the work of klezmer musicians and in part based his piece on traditional tunes known as 'Kandel's Hora' and 'Odessa Bulgarish'. Performing on Renaissance and Elizabethan instruments, the members of Fretwork are joined by cantor Jeremy Avis for a pair of Hebrew liturgical settings penned by Salvatore Rossi (d. 1630).
Orlando Gough (b.1953) was a founder member of the bands The Lost Jockey and Man Jumping. He writes music mostly for the theatre - operas, plays, dance pieces, music-theatre and directs The Shout, an extraordinary choir of diverse soloists.
27th June 2008
“Always the unusual from the viol consort Fretwork. Not content with assembling a programme featuring covertly Jewish composers at the Tudor and Stuart courts, they thread through the tracks 24 klezmer-influenced minutes by the contemporary composer Orlando Gough.
They’re pleasant, but for music with real meat you need the six selections by Thomas Lupo – sophisticated consort pieces teased out by Fretwork’s agile fingers.”
“compelling and convincing, it's to the credit of Fretwork that they chose to bring this previously lost bit of 16th-century music history into the light. Fretwork is particularly adept at this sort of thing,
leaving us towonder and eagerly await their next project.”
“Birds on Fire… is by Orlando Gough (b1953), a British composer… The music is hauntingly coloured by reference to klezmer tunes, while the second movement grows over a hypnotic ostinato. A memorable disc.”
“Orlando Gough, best known for his theatre music, composed Birds on Fire in 1997. This is demanding, wonderfully offbeat music inspired by Ashkenazi Klezmers… which Fretwork brings off with a panache that astonishes and delights.”
“The title of this recording is a quotation from Aaron Appelfeld's 1939 novel Badenheim. The subtitle, 'Jewish Music for Viols', more accurately describes the contents: Fretwork have also recorded consort music by some of the Jewish composers at the Tudor court – the Bassanos and Lupos – along with two contemporaries in Holland, Philip van Wilder and Leonara Duarte, illustrating the extent to which they set aside the declamatory music of their forefathers in favour of the imitative polyphonic style prevailing in Northern Europe. Even the Venetian 'Ebreo' Salamone Rossi borrowed from the Latin motet for his 1622 Songs of Solomon, stilo antico settings with Hebrew texts sung here by Jeremy Avis. If you're seeking the exotic, listen to tracks 1, 13 and 24. Orlando Gough, best known for his theatre music, composed Birds on Fire in 1997. This is demanding, wonderfully offbeat music inspired by Ashkenazi Klezmers (more cabaret than camera), which Fretwork brings off with a panache that astonishes and delights. Importantly, it demonstrates the extent to which the viol consort has been circumscribed by its historic – largely amateur – repertoire and suggests that it is capable of far more. Each of the three Gough pieces begins with eerie sounds and is characterised by a kaleidoscope of syncopated ostinati, droll pizzicato asides and sinewy, modal themes conveyed in parallel octaves. You'll swear you can hear an organ, accordion, clarinet and a saxophone, but you don't. Fascinating, liberating music!”
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