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Die politischen Wirren im England des frühen 17. Jahrhunderts kulminierten 1649 in der Hinrichtung von König Charles I. und dem Beginn des Commonwealth unter der Führung von Oliver Cromwell. Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), der bedeutendste englische Komponist in dieser Zeit, schrieb kurz nach der Hinrichtung eine Pavane für these distracted times, die diesem Album den Titel gab. Es bietet eine abwechslungsreiche Mischung aus geistlicher Vokalmusik und Kammermusik des Komponisten, aufgenommen übrigens in der Kapelle des Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, wo Cromwell einst studierte.
Gramophone Magazine Editors Choice February 2008
The career of Thomas Tomkins straddled several reigns as well as the Cromwell era and this had an impact on his music, which otherwise reflects the influence of his mentor, William Byrd. Vocal textures are varied, clear and satisfying; the instrumental works, too, exude sanity in what were turbulent Times. Tomkins favoured the solo bass voice, which introduces four of the sacred choral works here, though others contain ravishing, if brief, duets for tenors and sopranos. Best known is the lament on the death of Absalom, which with the verse anthem My help cometh from the Lord croens the disc.
In the choral works David Skinner has drawn a beautifully blended sound from his Sidney Sussex Chapel Choir of mixed voices; the solo parts are taken by members of both Alamire (the polished male voice quartet Skinner founded in 2005) and the choir. Although the organ is present as a solo instrument in the title track and in A Fancy as well as accompanying Alamire in The heavens declare , Skinner transcribed the organ parts for the Fifth Service and the closing anthem for the viol quartet a liberty he defends in his engaging booklet-notes and which are so sensitively played by members of the renowned Fretwork.
The viol music and much of the church music date from Tomkins s time as organist of Worcester Cathedral, which came to an abrupt end in 1647; he composed the Sad Pavan for organ just 2 weeks after the execution of Charles I in 1649. Once also a Gentleman of the King s Chapel Royal, Tomkins had good reason to feel distracted . Cromwell happens to have been a member of Sidney Sussex College.
The college provides a clear and sympathetic acoustic. It s difficult to know whether Tomkins or Cromwell would have been the most surprised. Tomkins would most certainly have been delighted. --Gramophone Magazine February 2008
Gramophone Magazine CD of the month February 2008
Every year throws up some treasurable surprises and this is certainly one of those. A new label, Obsidian, chooses to launch with a collection of vocal music by Tomas Tomkins who, while renowned in his day, is now rather less fashionable than his mentor William Byrd (still less Tallis). This disc should, if there is justice in the world, do much for Tomkins reputation. The performances fairly glow, and so do one s spirit after traversing this glorious programme.
No surprise at the deeply felt playing of Fretwork, but the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, is new to me. They sing with as much sensitivity and soul as many more famous rivals. The vocal ensemble Alamire are marvellously balanced and they boast one heck of a bass (granite-firm in the lowest reaches, noble of utterance) in Robert Macdonald.
That Tomkins could compose such sublime music living at the same time as Oliver Cromwell cracked down on choral music is astonishing. Ironically, in a twist that the composer would surely have enjoyed, this album was recorded in the very chapel which houses Cromwell s head.
This disc has been much played. Obsidan have got off to the best possible start. --Gramophone Magazine February 2008Alle Produktbeschreibungen