A successor to the two
ensembles’ previous joint venture devoted to the Dow partbooks, this album
presents a selection from its counterpart, compiled by the singer John Baldwin,
which is remarkable for its quality and diversity. In the collection itself, and
on this recording, very familiar works jostle with rarities, and it says much
for the selection that nearly everything is worth hearing. Among the vocal
rarities the most impressive to my ear are Gerarde’s Sive vigilem and
Hollander’s Dum transisset, while among the better-known pieces Tallis’s Suscipe
quaeso and Mundy’s Adhesit pavimento are especially well managed. It seems to me
that The Marian Consort have matured since the Dow collection was recorded, in
that one discerns more positive interpretative intent here. As to the Rose
Consort, their contribution is as telling as before: in their hands Byrd’s Canon
Six in One is not only a technical tour de force (though it is of course that)
but a gem of economy and expressivity. Bevin’s lovely three-voice Browning is
also worth a mention, as is the surprising ear-tickle at the beginning of
Taverner’s Quemadmodum: the intonation of the opening point is ever so slightly
inflected by the instruments’ tuning. Only the passagework in Baldwin’s own
Coockow as I me walked is a trifle uncertain.
In short, there is plenty to enjoy. Although nowhere do the two ensembles join
together as they had done on their previous collaboration, there is nonetheless
programmatic integrity and a convincing sense of ebb and flow between them.
Perhaps a future recording will reunite them.
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