[Milton-L] Renaissance music--recs?

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Sun Apr 3 11:14:57 EDT 2011

A HUGE question, but I'll bite. Here are some particularly imaginative
recordings, of special interest to those who study Renaissance literature
and culture:

*Bara Faustus' Dream: Mr Francis Tregian his Choice*. By Les Witches. Lute
songs and instrumental music inspired (i.e., for Les Witches) by the
recusant Francis Tregian and the fabulous Unton Memorial at the National
Portrait Gallery. The concept doesn't take you very far, but it's good

*My Lady Riche*. Emily van Evera and Christopher Morrongiello. Really a
brilliant album. Apart from having great music (Dowland, Byrd, Coprario and
others), it's like a musico-cultural biography of Penelope Devereux. Full of

*Celestiall Witchcraft: The Private Music of Henry and Charles, Princes of
Wales*. Fretwork. Great early 17th c. music from this court within the
court. Of both musical and historical interest.

*1605: Treason & Discord: William Byrd and the Gunpowder P**lot*. The Kings'
Singers. Slightly weird but intriguing gathering of materials around the
Plot. The actual historical connections between music and event are slim to
none, but there's some fabuluous music here, especially by Byrd (of course a
recusant). His Mass for 4 his Civitas sancti especially (the latter one of
the very greatest of Renaissance motets).
The King's Singers Renaissance recordings are all worth having, at least the
more recent ones. The group that's been active for the last decade or so is
one of the best vocal ensembles ever. They have a recording of *The Triumphs
of Oriana* (tedious to listen to all through, but an important collection),
*The English Renaissance* (Tallis and Byrd), and more.

Buy anything by the Huelgas Ensemble -- they're brilliant and also
imaginative in their programming. For early Tudor music, the Sixteen have
recorded everything in the Eton Choirbooks. The Tallis Scholars are solid
and reliable, if a little uninspired sometimes. The Hilliard Ensemble did
some great recordings (Dunstable, Byrd, Josquin) back in the 80s, but I
don't know how many are still available. I wouldn't stretch back too far,
since the quality of early music performance has improved significantly over
the decades. The Deller Consort has a quaint historical interest, for
example, but they're painful to listen to now. The one exception I'd make is
David Munrow, whose ensemble made some fabulous and ground-breaking
recordings quite a ways back -- boxed sets of The Music of the Netherlands,
Early Instruments, and another of Machaut and Dufay. There's loads and loads
of other ensemble music, especially sacred. The Orlando Consort are very
good, The Byrd Edition by The Cardinal's Music is superb, and Byrd is really
the greatest composer of the English Renaissance, and one of the greatest
period -- despite the fact that Anthony Tommasini didn't include him in his
silly NYT list! New York's Lionheart also has an excellent recording of
Tudor music: *My Fayre Ladye*. Many of the church and college choirs also do
excellent recordings: Winchester Cathedral, King's College, St. John's
College, St. Paul's, etc.

There are tons of lute song recordings. The best countertenor going is the
German Andreas Scholl, who is in a class by himself. Others who've done
Dowland, Campion, et al well are Rufus Mueller, Ian Partridge, and Emma
Kirkby (a very limited singer, despite having dominated the early music
scene in its early days, but she does lute songs well).

There are some interesting recordings of Renaissance popular music: *How the
World Wags: Social Music for a Seventeenth Century Englishman*, by The City
Waites, and *Johnny, Cock Thy Beaver*, by The Dufay Collective.


On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:19 AM, Zackariah Long <zclong at owu.edu> wrote:

> Hi, there, fellow Miltonists,
> This is slightly tangential to the purpose of this list, but if pressed I
> suppose I could say I was working on "At a Solemn Music" or was interested
> in Milton's father:
> Recently I have become interested in listening to Renaissance music and was
> wondering if anyone had recommendations of nice places to start in the way
> of CDs or boxed sets. I started where I am most comfortable, with
> Shakespeare and Elizabethan music--of which there seems to be an abundance
> of easily available collections--but would be interested in ranging further
> abroad within the England or on the Continent. Any favorite sets or
> sites/labels to check out?
> With much appreciation,
> Zack
> --
> Zackariah Long
> Assistant Professor of English
> 211 Sturges Hall
> Department of English
> Ohio Wesleyan University
> 61 S. Sandusky St.
> Delaware, OH 43015
> Office phone: (740) 368-3596
> zclong at owu.edu
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Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
Editor, Reformation
Organizer, The King James Bible and its Cultural Afterlife
The Ohio State University
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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