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Philip van Wilder: Complete Sacred Music & Chansons
Cantores, David Allinson (director)
Philip van Wilder (c.1500–53) was a Dutch lutenist and composer who became Henry VIII’s favourite musician. Although a major figure in his own day (and also comfortably off), he has passed almost unnoticed from musical history.
This recording presents his complete surviving sacred music and some of his chansons – which Reformation Protestants found useful to kickstart their new, simpler religious repertoire.
The programme sets him in historical context: downstream from Josquin and Gombert, collaborating with Tallis and a formative influence on Byrd.
Cantores is a choir formed from graduates of Exeter University by Dr David Allison which meets several times a year for specific projects, specialising in the music of the Renaissance. Dr David Allinson is a conductor, singer and musicologist specialising in the history and performance of Renaissance choral music. Appointed Director of Music at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2013, he was previously Teaching Fellow in Music at Bristol University. With a wide experience as a choral director and choir trainer, he leads workshops and summer schools around the UK and in Europe. As well as leading Cantores, he performs and records with the Renaissance Singers in London.
“While Cantores is not one of the top choirs I really like the sound they make. The vocal quality I would describe as airy. Intonation is reliable as is diction. They are largely Exeter graduates and renaissance music is their specialist area.” MusicWeb International, 2nd January 2014
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Byrd Edition Volume 8
Cantiones Sacrae (1589)
“ASV's Byrd Edition presents Propers for Candlemas (also known as the 'Feast of the Purification'), and further motets from the 1589 CantionesSacrae, many of them composed to strengthen the spirits of the Queen's loyal Catholic subjects in those troubled and highly dangerous times. Which goes to explain the high proportion of sorrowful or penitential texts, the frequent cries for deliverance (AspiceDomine, Ne irascaris, Tribulationes), and the mastery with which Byrd sets them. This historical background, vital to an understanding of the music, doesn't exclude the possibility of a joyful outcome: Byrd can also contemplate the ultimate joys of heaven, (O quam gloriosum, Laetenturcaeli).
The choir enters deeply into an understanding of what lies behind these pieces. And Byrd is never averse to raising his singers' spirits by introducing a jaunty rhythm – the crowing cock in Vigilate, for example – or a bright, rising theme to inspire hope. The choir responds with sustained restraint, perfect balance and crisp rhythms.
The settings of the Propers for Candlemas offer a short recital of their own, this time in the full context of the liturgy for this ancient feast, and following the whole course of events as the story unfolds. A thoroughly satisfying disc.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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