This is a nice recording of church music from Tudor England, spanning 1485 to 1603. Six of the ten tracks come from two composers, Thomas Weelkes and Orlando Gibbons. The other four composers, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Thomas Morley, and John Taverner, contribute one each. The choir of Winchester Cathedral is accompanied by the Consort of Musicke, and the director is Martin Neary.
I have personally sung Laudibus in sanctis, This is the Record of John, and Hosannah to the Son of David, and can vouch for the singing here. The voice parts are distinct and audible, showcasing the harmonies, and the soloists add a welcome nuance. They have produced a nice CD to sing along with in the car, and singing is a nice way to take your mind off the SOBs who make commutes such a drag.
The composers themselves are a varied group:
1) William Byrd, the combative Roman Catholic struggling to survive in Protestant England;
2) Thomas Weelkes, organist at nearby Winchester College, striving to be a "Gentleman of the Chapel," like Byrd and Tallis, and never succeeding, mainly because of his drinking and cursing when riled. Still, he is one of the best.
3) Orlando Gibbons, along with Byrd my favorite. He was a Gentleman of the Chapel, and his anthems have a sweetness and sincerity that add much to worship.
4) John Taverner, sounding like the hermit great-uncle who lives in the attic. Dum transisset Sabbatum is Gothic and intimidating but dated next to Byrd and Gibbons, whose music owes so much to madrigals and is freer and lively by comparison. Taverner felt the impact of the Reformation in Britain more than the others. His career and even his life could have been threatened by those who resented his "popish ditties."
History is implied on this CD. A lovely production. Engaging music with the most perfect instrument, the human voice.