DAVID MUNROW & HIS EARLY MUSIC CONSORT = THE FOUNTAINHEAD OF THE ENGLISH HISTORICALLY PERFORMANCE PRACTICE MOVEMENT!
This classic 1975 recording "ART OF THE NETHERLANDS" is a prime example of the work of David Munrow and his Early Music Consort of London. Two other anthologies that must also be considered in the category of English historical performance are: "The Art of Courtly Love " (1973), and "Music of the Gothic Era" (1976). The historical repertoire of the Franco-Flemish school of composers has long been known to specialists, but this recovery of Mid-Renaissance vocal works from the Low Countries brings the music to life for the first time.
Munrow is the youthful polymath who combined scholarship, musicianship, craftsmanship and endless enthusiasm in a singularly 'explosive' blend. These performances practically 'snap, crackle and pop' with life and vitality. The performancers are skilled and render their individual solos and ensemble work with perfection. Indeed, it is one of the few recordings that I possess wherein each singer pleases me!!!! The instrumentalists as well do their accompanying and soloing with expressiveness and seem to have a unique empathy with the singers.
There are two discs in this package: Disc one includes all secular songs with a variety of composers, some of whom are Heinrich Isaac, Antoine Brumel, Josquin Desprez, Johannes Ockegam to name a few of the more familiar composers; Disc two includes Mass movements from various composers such as Brumel, Desprez, Pierre de la Rue, Jacob Obrecht, Heinrich Isaac, Jean Mouton, Juan de Anchieta/Penalosa. This all makes for a very interesting combination of composers as well as the works themselves. I really enjoyed Disc Two probably because having a different composer for each movement of the Mass made for fascinating listening.
The performers, both vocal and instrumental, read like a 'who's who in the music world TODAY' for many of these people went on to become very well known in their specific careers such as: countertenors James Bowman & Charles Brett, tenors Martyn Hill and Rogers Covey-crump, Nigel North, lutenist and Christopher Hogwood organ and conductor. However, they are all notable in their own field. There are in all: 14 singers and 13 instrumentalists.
The package is accompanied by an eleven page brochure with information in English, German and French. No text translation is included.