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'Spirit of England'
This was a very peaceful, relaxing recording. I enjoyed it very much! Well done!! It was uplifting for the soul. Thank you!

A.G.G. USA

'Greek Taverna'
I love it, it takes me back to the islands and I miss Gift of Music! Merci

L.V.P. France

The Gift of Music > Music CDs & DVDs > Obsidian Records

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Anne Boleyn's SongbookNew Ref: CD715

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Music & Passions of a Tudor Queen

Anne Boleyn is without doubt the most famous of Henry VIII's six wives. She was brought up for a time under the guardianship of Margaret of Austria, who was patron to some of the most famous composers in all of Europe, and then in the French court before her return to England in 1522. It was in France where the young Anne developed her keen musical tastes, and when a collection of her favourite works began to be assembled into what is now known as the Anne Boleyn Songbook (Royal College of Music, MS 1070). The book probably remained in her possession until her execution in 1536, when she was accused of adultery with no less than five men including her own brother, George, and lutenist Mark Smeaton.
Here Alamire explores the finest works in the Songbook by the greatest composers of the early 16th century, including Compère, Brumel, Mouton, and Josquin. Performances by Alamire are interspersed with French chansons and instrumental items for lute, harp and voice. The programme concludes with a most haunting setting of 'O Deathe rock me asleep', not from the Songbook but possibly linked to Anne's fate while awaiting her execution in the Tower of London.
 


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Anne Boleyn's Songbook

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William Croft - Burial Service & AnthemsNew Ref: CD714

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William Croft (1678-1727) was the finest English composer of his age, having followed in the footsteps of Henry Purcell and John Blow at Westminster Abbey. This recording highlights his full anthems and Burial Service published in his ambitious and successful Musica Sacra of 1724. Croft was deeply inspired by Tallis and, at the height of his career, flourished in the shadow of Handel. 


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William Croft - Burial Service & Anthems

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The Four Seasons & String Concerti - Antonio Vivaldi Ref: CD713

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Antonio Vivaldi's collection of twelve concerti Opus 8 was published in Amsterdam in 1725; he gave descriptive titles to seven of the twelve, including the four concerti representing the seasons: La Primavera, Estate, Autumno, L'Inverno. For The Four Seasons, Vivaldi included four sonnets, apparently written by himself, each of which is divided into three ideas, reflecting the three movements (fast-slow-fast) of each concerto. The 1725 publication indicated which musical passages are representative of which verses of the sonnets. These rarely recorded sonnets are heard on this CD in the original Italian. The youthful musicians of EUBO are joined by a different soloist for each of The Seasons. 


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The Four Seasons & String Concerti - Antonio Vivaldi

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The Spy's Choirbook - Petrus Alamire & the Court of Henry VIII - 2CD set Ref: CD712

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EARLY MUSIC AWARD WINNER FOR THE 2015 GRAMOPHONE CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS

Among the musical treasures in the British Library is MS Royal 8.g.vii, a sumptuous choirbook prepared for Henry VIII and his first queen Catherine of Aragon. It was produced by Petrus Alamire, who not only headed one of the finest musical scriptoriums of the age but acted as a spy for Henry against Richard de la Pole, a Plantagenet claimant to the English throne.

The choirbook, gifted to the royal couple in around 1516, contains 34 motets, many of them unique to this manuscript and includes masterworks by the leading French and Franco-Flemish composers of the age including Josquin Desprez, Jean Mouton, Heinrich Isaac, Antoine de Févin, and Pierre de la Rue.

ALAMIRE directec by DAVID SKINNER
ENGLISH CORNETT & SACKBUT ENSEMBLE
 


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The Spy's Choirbook - Petrus Alamire & the Court of Henry VIII - 2CD set

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Handel: Coronations Anthems Ref: CD711

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Peace & Celebration
Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Coronation Anthems
Concerto Grosso Op3 No2
Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne

Recorded live at a concert at St John's Smith Square, London this recording of famous works by Handel celebrates the 300th anniversary of the accession of George I, the first of the Hanoverian monarchs in 1714. The German-born composer Handel arrived in London in 1712 and became a favourite of Queen Anne and later of the Hanoverians. He composed the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne in 1713 celebrating the Peace of Utrecht. He was made a British citizen by George I and was commissioned by him to compose music for the coronation of George II. These much-loved Coronation Anthems have become a traditional part of all subsequent British coronations.



 


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Handel: Coronations Anthems

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Schoenberg & Reger Organ Works Ref: CD710

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Schoenberg: Variations on a Recitative Op 40
Reger: Benedictus Op 59 No 9
Reger: Introduction, Variations & Fugue on an Original Theme in F sharp minor Op.73


"Martin Souter proves a flawless exponent of these truly monumental works. As much food for thought here as there is enjoyment. But, at any rate, be amazed!" Organists' Review

Arnold Schoenberg's 'Variations on a Recitative' were first published in 1943 in an edition which gave very detailed performance instructions based on the 1928 Skinner organ in Princeton University Chapel. A restoration of this organ has made it possible to reconstruct the intentions of this edition, and this recording therefore brings the forensic practices of early music to the 1940s. In addition, there are two amazing pieces by Max Reger. The 'Benedictus' provides a perfect foil to Schoenberg's monumental work and it is followed by Reger's own monumental piece, the 'Introduction, Variations and Fugue'. 7 tracks 63 min
Martin Souter organ 


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Schoenberg  & Reger Organ Works

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Deo Gracias Anglia! Ref: CD709

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Medieval English Carols for Christmas

Recorded in the Wren Library in Trinity College, Cambridge, these beautiful medieval carols include famous works such as ‘Ther is no rose’, the ‘Agincourt’ carol and ‘Nova, nova’. The performances include accompaniment on a wide range of medieval instruments including the psaltery, plectrum lute and the ethereal gemshorn.
18 tracks 65 min 


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Deo Gracias Anglia!

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Thomas Weelkes - Grant the King a long life Ref: CD708

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Thomas Weelkes was a notorious drunkard and blasphemer, in regular conflict with the authorities of Chichester Cathedral where he was organist, Informator Choristarum, and a singing-man from 1602 until his death in 1623. At least that is his modern reputation. But regardless of the man’s personal flaws, his music firmly stands as sublime. He was the most notable composer of madrigals in his day, and one of the most prolific composers of church music. Featured here is a selection of his finest full and verse anthems as well as instrumental music for organ, viols, and solo voice, including a number of anthems in praise of King James I of England.
THE CHOIR OF
SIDNEY SUSSEX COLLEGE
CAMBRIDGE
with soloists drawn from the choir
FRETWORK
Directed by DAVID SKINNER 


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Thomas Weelkes - Grant the King a long life

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John Taverner - Imperatrix Inferni Ref: CD707

Votive Antiphons and Ritual Music

John Taverner (d. 1545) is, arguably, the most famous of all early Tudor composers, and one who had a rather colourful musical and political career. His music represents the final flowering of late medieval English polyphony before the onslaught of mid 16th-century Reformation. Much of the music on this recording centres around Taverner's earlier career, including the three surviving large-scale Votive Antiphons. Included, too, is his sumptuous six-part Quemadmodum, which stylistically foreshadows true 'Renaissance' composition in England. 


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John Taverner - Imperatrix Inferni

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Phiippe Verdelot: Madrigals for a Tudor King Ref: CD703

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Philippe Verdelot was the most important composer of Italian madrigals in the early 16th century and recognized as the greatest innovator of the genre. A Frenchman, he occupied several important musical posts in Italy, including the Florentine posts of maestro di cappella at the Baptistry of S. Maria del Fiore and the great Duomo itself. In the mid 1520s, during his time in Florence, a set of part-books were assembled, probably under Verdelot's supervision, for the court of Henry VIII. Most, if not all, of the works were composed by Verdelot. This is the first recording of the complete madrigals in the collection, which stands not only as the most exceptional of diplomatic musical gifts but is also an important source for the history of the early madrigal.
 


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Phiippe Verdelot: Madrigals for a Tudor King

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Cantiones Sacrae 1575 - 2CD set Ref: CD706

In 1575 Thomas Tallis, then an ‘aged man’, and his pupil
and friend William Byrd, who was in his mid to late 30s,
paid tribute to Elizabeth I by selecting 17 motets each for
their Cantiones Sacrae (‘Sacred Songs’), the first major
printed collection of music to be published in England.
Many of these works have since become staple in the
repertoire of church and chamber choirs throughout the
world. This is the first recording to present the Cantiones
in their entirety, by the same group of singers, and in the
composers’ original order of publication.
Alamire and Obsidian Records are very grateful for the
financial support of Mrs Patricia Brown, without whose
help this project would not have been possible. 


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Cantiones Sacrae 1575 - 2CD set

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Henry's Music Ref: CD705

On 24 June 1509 Henry Tudor was crowned the eighth English king of that name. His early reign was seen by all as a new Golden Age, full of opulence, splendour, majesty and harmony. While Henry;s reputation is today largely that of the tyrant, in the first 20 years of his reign he was perhaps one of the greatest royual patrons of the musical arts in all of Europe. This recording, produced in conjunction with the various 'Henry's Music' celebrations in 2009, contains works written for Henry and by Henry. Alamire, Andrew Lwarence-King, Quintessential, and mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson combine to offer a fitting tribute to England's most musical king. 


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Henry's Music

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Thomas Tomkins: These Distracted Times Ref: CD702

17 tracks 68 min
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The political intrigue of the early 17th century culminated with the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the beginning of the Commonwealth led by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Thomas Tomkins, the greatest composer of that age, wrote a pavan for ‘these distracted times’ shortly after the King’s execution. This CD provides a mixture of Tomkin’s church and chamber music that soothed troubled souls during these turbulent years. The recording was made in the chapel of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where Cromwell was a student and where his severed head remains. 


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Thomas Tomkins: These Distracted Times

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Senfl Ref: CD704

17 tracks, 67 min

From the ancient church of St Emmeram in Regensburg, Bavaria, comes this new recording of music for the Emperor Maximilian I. An Easter Mass by court composer Ludwig Senfl (c1486-1543) is sung by the acclaimed Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. They are joined on this occasion by QuintEssential, playing ancient brass instruments. Plus solo songs and harp music with Andrew Lawrence-King, harp, and vocal soloists including stunning bass Robert Macdonald. 


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Senfl

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'Schoenberg & Reger Organ Works'
Martin Souter proves a flawless exponent of these truly monumental works. As much food for thought here as there is enjoyment. But, at any rate, be amazed!
Organists' Review


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