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Birds on Fire - Jewish Musicians at the Tudor Court (Fretwork/Avis) [CD]

Fretwork Augustine Bassano Hieronymus Bassano and Leonora Duarte Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Jun 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B0015DM2UM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,541 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Birds on Fire: I.Fretwork 5:52£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Hashkivénu [Prayer]Fretwork and Jeremy Avis 3:01£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: DesperadaFretwork 1:03£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: PavanaFretwork 1:13£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: GallyardFretwork 1:06£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: Seconda DesperadaFretwork 1:32£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: Pavin of AlbartiFretwork 1:24£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: Gallyard of AlbartiFretwork0:42£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Pieces from the Lumley Part Books: Terza DesperadaFretwork 1:19£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Two Sinfonias in 5 Parts: No. 5Fretwork 2:19£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Two Sinfonias in 5 Parts: No. 6, Octave toniFretwork 1:53£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Fantasia in 6 parts No.1Fretwork 4:04£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Birds on Fire: II.Fretwork 7:36£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Fantasia con pause e senza pauseFretwork 3:40£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Pavan in 3 Parts No.26Fretwork 2:56£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Fantasia [Air] in 4 Parts No.5Fretwork 2:01£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Fantasia in 6 parts No.9Fretwork 3:50£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Pavan & Gallard No. 1: PavanFretwork 2:03£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Pavan & Gallard No. 1: GalliardFretwork 1:06£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Fantasia No. 1Fretwork 3:04£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Pavana a 5Fretwork 2:19£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen22. Fantasia in 6 Parts No.4Fretwork 3:40£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Fantasia in 6 Parts No.11Fretwork 3:24£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen24. Birds on Fire: III.Fretwork10:26Album Only
Listen25. Shir hamma'alót [Psalm 128]Fretwork and Jeremy Avis 3:01£0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description


Always the unusual from the viol consort Fretwork. Not content with assembling a programme featuring covertly Jewish composers at the Tudor and Stuart courts, they thread through the tracks 24 klezmer-influenced minutes by the contemporary composer Orlando Gough.

They re pleasant, but for music with real meat you need the six selections by Thomas Lupo sophisticated consort pieces teased out by Fretwork s agile fingers. --Geoff Brown, The Times

Orlando Gough s Birds on Fire is a three-movement suite inspired by Aaron Appelfeld s novel Badenheim 1939. Middle-class Jews gather in a well-to-do Austrian resort that, during their stay, becomes a ghetto. Gough s music, spread over Fretwork s fine recital, uses kletzmer tunes. It s both catchy and poignant, the medium of viols lending it an appropriate astringency. Much of the rest of the disc is devoted to Elizabethan and Jacobean viol consort music by members of two émigré dynasties of court musicians, the Lupos and the Bassanos, whose Jewishness was surmised only in 1983. These are as much in the English courtly vein as the anonymous works from the Lumley Part Books and a rich Fantasia by the Dutch-born Philip van Wilder, also recorded here. --Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, July 6, 2008

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very rewarding disc 28 Jan 2010
Format:Audio CD
This is another excellent disc from Fretwork - now firmly established as one of the world's finest viol ensembles. Here they present a programme of music by Jewish-Italian musicians at the Tudor and Stewart courts. It is very fine viol music (I thought the five tracks by Thomas Lupo were exceptionally good) from the period of about 1550 to 1650. If you have any interest in music of this period or in viols in general, you'll love it.

Interspersed with this is the three-part piece by Orlando Gough which gives the disc its name. It's a bit like a klezmer-tinged Shostakovich string quartet. I rather like it, but I find it intrudes when I'm listening to the rest of the disc and I tend to programme my CD player to listen to it separately.

Fretwork, as one would expect, are simply brilliant. Their unflashy virtuosity and love for the music brings out all its wonderful qualities and their overall sound (excellently recorded by Harmonia Mundi) is rich and lovely. The whole disc is a truly rewarding and hugely enjoyable musical experience, and I recommend it very warmly indeed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine New Recording of Tudor Music... 15 Mar 2009
By Giordano Bruno - Published on
Format:Audio CD
... for violas da gamba, which doesn't really need the Jewish "shtick" to be appealing. The principal composers here - Bassano, the Lupos, Duarte - were Venetians, members of dynastic families of musicians and instrument makers; compositionally, they were assimilated English folk. Salomone Rossi was indeed forthrightly Jewish but granted protection and the right NOT to wear his yellow star in Mantua. Rossi made the only significant effort by any Renaissance/Baroque composer to set Jewish liturgy to the music of his times, but none of that impulse shows up in his consort music.

None of the consort pieces on this CD will elevate the composers to the status of Locke, Jenkins, or Tye, but they are all modestly witty and fun to hear. Many of them take the forms of courtly dances popular in Tudor times, pointing toward the seminal role of dance music in the suites that eventually gave their names to the movements of classical quartets and symphonies.

Yes, Virginia, there are living composers of music for violas da gamba, and Fretwork has commissioned and performed some of the best. The three "Birds on Fire" fantasias by Orlando Gough recorded here have much more obvious touches of Jewish musical tradition than the Tudor/Italian works. I find them interesting enough that I wish I could hear more of the composer's work in its own context... and by implication more of Bassano and Rossi here.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice - Mostly Tudor, a little modern 14 May 2008
By W. P. Gardner - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I didn't know anyone wrote for viols nowadays. Most of this music is from the Tudor period but it is bracketed by a new composition by Orlando Gough called Birds on Fire. Gough's piece is a bit like the Kronos Quartet CD of The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (composed by Osvaldo Golijov).

This is a very nice recording. If you like Fretwork or Kronos, you will probably like this.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expand your classical music horizon both forward and backward 26 Oct 2008
By S. J. Snyder - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is primarily Tudor-era music, and specifically Jewish English music. That is despite Jews having officially been booted from England by Edward III back in 1290; modern scholarship says some Italians of apparent Jewish background were among court musicians.

If you're familiar with Fretwork, you know it's simply great; if you're not familiar with the group, buy both this CD and its recording of Bach's "Art of Fugue."

The period music is sandwiched by a klezmer-like piece by modern composer Orlando Gough, worth a good listen itself. "Birds on Fire" becomes the title for the album as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 6 July 2012
By Samir Sobhy - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
With the exception of 2 composers (Orlando Gough and Salamone Rossi), this CD focuses on the music of composers in the British royal court in the second half of the XVI century and the first half of the XVII century. A special attention is given to those composers of Italian/Jewish origin, who were living in England under different identities, among whom the two prominent families of the Bassanos and the Lupos stand out.

The attention of Fretwork - the famed six-member ensemble for early music, using period instruments - was drawn to this group of musicians after the publication in 1983 of an article by Roger Prior, the British professor, claiming that musician, composers, and instrument makers at the Tudor and Stuart courts were of Jewish origin, despite the banishing of Jews from England in 1290 (not to be 'readmitted' before 1655). While this is historically interesting, it does not affect much the quality and style of the music produced, which had both Italian and British flavors. Only the 3 pieces by Gough (labeled "Birds on Fire" - hence the title of the CD), and the 2 pieces by Rossi are different: the former are mysteriously modern with Jewish melodies; and the latter are a prayer and a psalm, sung in Yiddish.

Fans of early music, like myself, will much enjoy this CD. It transforms one to the period, when the court would retire after meals to listen to fantasia and dance-like pieces. Fretwork performance, as usual, is absolutely superb. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Say what? 18 Dec 2013
By Olve Utne - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Everything is well played and well sung. The "Jewish Musicians at the Tudor Court" part of it is interesting and very well played. If that had been all, I would have rated this CD 5 stars. The interspersed modern work is interesting in itself, I guess, but "destroys" the CD much the same way as a CD named "Violin Concertos of Mozart's Vienna" would have suffered from the inclusion of Led Zeppelin solos inspired by these concertos.
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