The verse anthem was one of the most popular forms of composition in the Chapel Royal from the 16th to 18th centuries, providing a showcase for the talents of the composers and virtuoso performers of the time.
This CD illustrates the development of the form through some of the finest works of eleven principal composers of the time: Bull, Weelkes, Tomkins, Locke, Gibbons, Humfrey, Child, Wise, Purcell, Greene and Boyce.
Recorded in Douai Abbey, Berkshire, Consortium’s performances on this disc are utterly convincing and controlled. Their musicality is equally effective whether in word painting, pining melancholy or passages of lyrical dance.
With the exception of Purcell, the composers of English verse anthems in the 17th century are not widely appreciated. The Consortium, a small vocal ensemble, provides the perfect introduction to this beautiful, lyrical and quintessentially English music. By presenting the anthems in chronological order one can appreciate the evolution and many varieties of the anthems. Highlights include the passionate music of Thomas Weelkes and the most recent anthem, by William Boyce, showing that great music did not die in England with Purcell. Exquisite singing and a sensitive organist recorded in the warm church acoustic of Douai abbey make for an invaluable and moving introduction to an undervalued part of the repertoire. Dan Berney, Classical London
1. Almightly God, which by the leading of a star – Bull
2. Give ear, O Lord – Weelkes
3. Glory be to God on high – Tomkins
4. Lord, let me know mine end – Locke
5. This is the record of John – Gibbons
6. Hear O heavens – Humfrey
7. Behold, how good and joyful – Child
8. Prepare ye the way of the Lord – Wise
9. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord – Purcell
10. Lord, let me know mine end – Greene
11. O where shall wisdom be found? – Boyce