[Milton-L] Renaissance music--recs?

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Sun Apr 3 13:50:45 EDT 2011

Of interest might also be Selwyn College Cambridge's recording, "A Candle to the Glorious Sun: Sacred Songs by John Milton [Sr.] and Martin Peerson," on the Regent label.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
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601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Ryan Paul [ryanspaul at gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 11:51 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Renaissance music--recs?

Zack, et al:

About a year ago, someone asked this question on the community weblog metafilter.com<http://metafilter.com>. A number of good suggestions about composers, performers, and online resources:


Ryan Singh Paul

On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM, Hannibal Hamlin <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com<mailto:hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>> wrote:
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 music.

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 surprises.

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 Plot. 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<mailto: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,

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<tel:%28740%29%20368-3596>
zclong at owu.edu<mailto: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
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