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Fanfare Magazine: 39:5 (05-06/2016) 
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"enthusiastically recommended"

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Reviewer: James A. Altena

The subtitle of this disc is something of a misnomer, in that the music performed here was not written specifically for viol consort; specification of instrumentation for music other than organ was mostly a development of some decades later. Instead, this program takes its cue from the earliest surviving artistic representation of viols (reproduced on the booklet cover), in a painting by Lorenzo Costa (1460–1535) from 1497, the Madonna and Child enthroned with Saints in the church of San Giovanni del Monte in Bologna. (The earliest surviving example of an actual viol is one made c. 1540 in Venice by Francesco Linarol.) An account of the revels held in the court of King Henry VIII of England on January 6, 1515 notes “vi mynstrelles with straunge sounds as sagbuts, vyolles & outhers”—enough justification upon which to hang this musical hat, with a focus on works drawn from the so-called “Henry VIII Book,” the c. 1506 “Q18” musical manuscript in Bologna, and Spanish works that likely accompanied the unlucky Catherine of Aragon in going to England to become the consort first of Prince Arthur and then of bluff Prince Hal, ultimately with momentous historical consequences. Thus, we have here an assortment of early Mass movements, part-songs, dances, and what-not in instrumental arrangements for a four-voice viol consort, with mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson singing lyrics to 11 of the 24 selections. The results are absolutely beguiling: Wilkinson is a wonderfully expressive singer of lovely voice and consummate skill, and of course the Rose Consort is rightly well established as one of the world’s premiere ensembles of its type. Delphian provides ideal recorded sound and a well-produced booklet with detailed notes, full texts and translations for the songs, plus illustrations and photos. Fanciers of this repertoire and of viol consorts need not hesitate to acquire this item; enthusiastically recommended.

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