David Munrow – The Mediaeval Sound (1970)

FrontCover1David John Munrow (12 August 1942 – 15 May 1976) was a British musician and early music historian.

Munrow was born in Birmingham where both his parents taught at the University of Birmingham. His mother, Hilda Ivy (née Norman) Munrow (1905-1985), was a dance teacher and his father, Albert Davis “Dave” Munrow (1908-1975), was a lecturer and physical education instructor who wrote a book on the subject.

Munrow attended King Edward’s School until 1960. He excelled academically and was noted for his treble voice. He was lent a bassoon and returned in about a fortnight, able to play it remarkably well.
Munrow’s career was inspired by the loan of a crumhorn in 1961

In 1960, Munrow took a gap year and went to Peru to teach English at Markham College in Lima under the British Council student teacher scheme. He reached Lima by train from São Paulo and later spent some time touring Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, immersing himself in the traditional music of Latin America and collecting folk instruments. He returned home to Britain with a number of Bolivian flutes and other obscure instruments.

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While reading English for his master’s degree at Pembroke College, Cambridge, he became involved in musical performance, playing South American instruments in a students’ autumn-term concert organised by Christopher Hogwood. A professor of music, Thurston Dart, was intrigued by Munrow’s performance and encouraged him to explore links between Latin American folk instruments and early European instruments. While visiting Dart’s study, Munrow noticed a crumhorn hanging on the wall; Dart suggested he borrow it and this eventually inspired Munrow to commence an independent study of early musical instruments.

Starting from his ability as a pianist, singer and bassoonist, Munrow taught himself to play many older instruments. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a bassoonist but soon played instruments of Shakespeare’s time. Although he displayed talent on a wide variety of instruments, he had a particular lasting influence as a recorder player. His English style of discreet and controlled expression contrasts with the greater tonal flexibility of the Continental style espoused by the Dutch recorder player Frans Brüggen and others.

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By 1967 he was appointed a lecturer in early music at the University of Leicester, having married Gillian Veronica Reid the previous year. With Christopher Hogwood he formed the Early Music Consort, whose core members were experts on their particular instruments. Sometimes other professional musicians were employed when necessary, such as Nigel North and Robert Spencer, both highly regarded lutenists. From 1968, he toured the world, unearthing obscure instruments in every country he visited. He commissioned reconstructions of instruments related to the cornett and rackett from, amongst others, Otto Steinkopf. Two television programmes made him a household name: The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and Elizabeth R (1971). He also scored the feature film adaptation of the former, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, in 1972.

The early music revival was born following Munrow’s success with his soundtrack for The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which contained authentic music played on original instruments, and generated worldwide enthusiasm for music and instruments from the renaissance period. Subsequently, demand for such historical instruments increased dramatically, resulting in Munrow’s encouragement for the formation of a business specialising in this area, which is still trading as The Early Music Shop, based in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Munrow was a loyal and enthusiastic customer of the Early Music Shop, having helped the founder, Richard Wood, create the business’s name, and travelling immediately to the music store to be re-equipped with a variety of historical instruments after losing his entire collection in a theft.

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Munrow’s two contributions to film music were for British directors:

Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971). Munrow’s contribution included numbers from Terpsichore, Michael Praetorius’s collection of French dance music. It complemented an original score by Peter Maxwell Davies.
Zardoz (1974), written and directed by John Boorman. This included arrangements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 for early music instruments.

During his relatively short life, Munrow released over 50 records, some of which are now available on CD. In addition to his recordings with the Early Music Consort, he recorded with Michael Morrow’s Musica Reservata, Alfred Deller and the King’s Singers. He recorded Bach and Monteverdi many times, but his widest influence was in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. His three-record set with the Early Music Consort, The Art of the Netherlands, issued in 1976 (EMI SLS5049), was particularly influential in popularising the genre.

On BBC Radio 3 he presented Pied Piper, a multi-ethnic and centuries-spanning spread of music from Monteverdi to the Electric Light Orchestra rock group. Munrow also had dealings notably with the Young Tradition and Shirley and Dolly Collins.

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Apart from his regular radio slot and other programmes, he appeared on television, most notably on BBC 2 in a series entitled Ancestral Voices in a London studio, and on ITV’s Early Musical Instruments, filmed on location at Ordsall Hall in Salford. He also wrote one book entitled Instruments of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This originally accompanied a record set of the same name.

Munrow’s personal interests were travel, sailing, jazz and antiques. He was also a linguist. In addition, he wrote some articles on music, especially for his own recordings.

In 1976, Munrow hanged himself while in a state of depression; the recent deaths of his father and father-in-law, to whom he dedicated his sole book, are thought to have contributed to his decision to take his own life. He had, however, attempted suicide by drug overdose the previous year.

His death was noted to be a tragic loss to the early music movement, as no-one sufficiently followed in his footsteps.

The original line-up of the Early Music Consort: Christopher Hogwood, David Munrow, James Tyler, Oliver Brookes and James Bowman:
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Munrow perhaps did more than anyone else in the second half of the 20th century to popularise early music in Britain, despite a career lasting barely 10 years. This was underscored when NASA’s Voyager space probe committee selected one of his Early Music Consort recordings for the Voyager Golden Record, a gold-plated copper record that was to be sent into space. “The Fairie Round” from Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs by Anthony Holborne was included among a compilation of sounds and images which had been chosen as examples of the diversity of life and culture on Earth. Two discs were launched into space in 1977, the year after Munrow’s death.

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Munrow left behind him not only his recordings but a large collection of musical instruments. The Munrow Archive at the Royal Academy of Music holds a collection of his letters, papers, TV scripts, scores, musical compositions and books. The collection is accessible to the public. The online catalogue of the British Library Sound Archive reveals his many recording entries, and those of many other notable people.

Information about the life and work of David Munrow can be found in obituaries about him in 1976 (particularly the OUP journal Early Music), and in the following sources: a detailed piece in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Christopher Hogwood; The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians; The Art of David Munrow, a record set with a biography by Arthur Johnson, the producer of Pied Piper; and on the old vinyl sleeve of the Renaissance Suite. (wikipedia)

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Garklein Flötlein, Kortholt, Rauschpfeife, Nicolo Shawm, Basset Rackett, Crumhorn, and Gemshorn…
these are just some of the fascinating instruments whose sounds you will hear on this recording.

David Munrow begins by introducing them one by one, with a spoken explanation followed by a demonstration. Then hear these instruments played together in three varied programs: Music at the Court of King Henry VIII, Elizabethan Popular Tunes, and a Suite of Renaissance Dances. Before his untimely death David Munrow pioneered and was to become the acknowledged master of medieval instruments, performing on television, film, and making further recordings.

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“This recording is an attempt to illustrate the astonishing range and variety of woodwind instruments before 1600. To regard these instruments as primitive, as mere forerunners of their modern counterparts, is a vast delusion. The end of the sixteenth century represents a culmination of over 500 years of artistry and industry in making and developing musical instruments in Europe. All their families of instruments possessed remarkably individual timbres, and the professional musicians who played them were highly skilled; there is plenty of testimony to their accomplished technique, prodigious feats of improvisation and surprising versatility. After 1600, some of these exotic instruments disappeared. Others were transformed; the shawm was refined into the oboe, the dulcian into the bassoon”. David Munrow

In these instruments and these tunes lie the foundations of the baroque. (baroquemusic.org)

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Personnel:
David Munrow (all woodwind instruments)
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Christopher Hogwood (regal harpsichord)
Gillian Reid (percussion)

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Tracklist:

David Munrow introduces early woodwind instruments:
01. Danse Royale – French 13 Century 0.52
02. Dance Tune – Scottish c. 1250 1.39
03. Motet ‘Vertias Arpie” – French Before 1316 0.51
04. Gymel ‘Jesu Cristes Milde Moder’ – English c. 1270 1.38
05. Carol ‘Nowell Sing We’ – English 15th Century 3.01
06. Piper’s Fancy – English Traditional 1.32
07. Ballade ‘Ja Nuns Hons Pris’ (Coeur-de-Lion) 1.37
08. Saltarello – Italian 14th Century 1.59
09. Postillon – 16th Century 1.46
10. Alarm – 16th/17th Century 1.36
11. Wat Zal Men Op Den Avond Doen’ – 16th Century 0.13
12. Bicinium ‘Je Nose Etre Content’ (Certon) 0.53
13. ‘Wat Zal Men Op Den Avond Doen’ – 17th Century 1.31
14. Pavana ‘Desiderata’ (Benusi) 1.07

Band One: Music at Henry VIII’s Court:
15. Helas Madame (Henry VIII) 1.33
16. Si Fortune 1.20
17. Consort 1.06
18. Taunder Naken (Henry VIII) 2.22
19. If Love Now Reigned (Henry VIII) 0.27
20. En Vray Amoure (Henry VIII) 1.23

Band Two: Elizabethan Popular Tunes:
21. La Volta 1.55
22. Kemp’s Jig 1.41
23. Tower Hill 1.35
24. A Bergomask 1.04
25. Bouffons 2.01

Band Three: Suite of Renaissance dances:
26. Ungarescha (from “Il Primo Libro De Balli”) (Mainerio) 1.57
27. La Bouree (from “Terpsichore”) (Praetorius) 1.33
28. Basse Danse (‘Bergeret Sans Roch’ from the “Danserye”) (Susato) 1.31
29. Ronde ‘Mon Amy’ (from the ‘Danserye’) (Susato) 1.22
30. Galliard ‘La Rocha El Fuso’ 1.08
31. Ballets Des Baccanales Et Des Feus (from ‘Terpsichore’) (Praetorius) 0.51

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Capella Gregoriana – Songs For Meditation (2002)

FrontCover1Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song in Latin (and occasionally Greek) of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions. Although popular legend credits Pope Gregory I with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant.

Gregorian chants were organized initially into four, then eight, and finally 12 modes. Typical melodic features include a characteristic ambitus, and also characteristic intervallic patterns relative to a referential mode final, incipits and cadences, the use of reciting tones at a particular distance from the final, around which the other notes of the melody revolve, and a vocabulary of musical motifs woven together through a process called centonization to create families of related chants.

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The scale patterns are organized against a background pattern formed of conjunct and disjunct tetrachords, producing a larger pitch system called the gamut. The chants can be sung by using six-note patterns called hexachords. Gregorian melodies are traditionally written using neumes, an early form of musical notation from which the modern four-line and five-line staff developed. Multi-voice elaborations of Gregorian chant, known as organum, were an early stage in the development of Western polyphony.

Gregorian chant was traditionally sung by choirs of men and boys in churches, or by men and women of religious orders in their chapels. It is the music of the Roman Rite, performed in the Mass and the monastic Office. Although Gregorian chant supplanted or marginalized the other indigenous plainchant traditions of the Christian West to become the official music of the Christian liturgy, Ambrosian chant still continues in use in Milan, and there are musicologists exploring both that and the Mozarabic chant of Christian Spain. Although Gregorian chant is no longer obligatory, the Roman Catholic Church still officially considers it the music most suitable for worship. During the 20th century, Gregorian chant underwent a musicological and popular resurgence. (wikipedia)

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This a low budget product from German (compose and conducted by Dave Miller; this is of course a stupid pseudonym) with really good recreated melodies (with thunder and chirping of birds …) of this long musical tradition. On the one hand really soothing melodies, on the other hand I am more interested in the original compositions.

That’s why I want to present classical compositions here soon.

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Personnel:
Capella Gregoriana conducted by Dave Miller

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Tracklist:
01. Morning Awakening 1.42
02. Tractus 4.17
03. Introitus (Resurrexit) 4.36
04. Lost In Meditation (I) 7.27
05. Fidel 8.33
06. Bells Of Pray 0.21
07.Graduale 2.49
08. Organ Meditation 3.44
09. Lost In Meditation (II) 10.32
10. Evening Praise Night Prayer 4.53
11. Evening Praise 3.25
12. Introitus (Spiritus Domini) 3.16
13. Agnus Dei 2.20
14. Final Procession 3.10

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Collegium Musicum Krefeld – Music Of The Middle Ages (1953)

OriginalFrontCover1Medieval music encompasses the sacred and secular music of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, from approximately the 6th to 15th centuries. It is the first and longest major era of Western classical music and followed by the Renaissance music; the two eras comprise what musicologists generally term as early music, preceding the common practice period. Following the traditional division of the Middle Ages, medieval music can be divided into Early (500–1150), High (1000–1300), and Late (1300–1400) medieval music.

Medieval music includes liturgical music used for the church, and secular music, non-religious music; solely vocal music, such as Gregorian chant and choral music (music for a group of singers), solely instrumental music, and music that uses both voices and instruments (typically with the instruments accompanying the voices). Gregorian chant was sung by monks during Catholic Mass. The Mass is a reenactment of Christ’s Last Supper, intended to provide a spiritual connection between man and God. Part of this connection was established through music.

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During the medieval period the foundation was laid for the music notation and music theory practices that would shape Western music into the norms that developed during the Common Practice period of shared music writing practices which encompassed the Baroque era (1600–1750), Classical era (1750–1820) and Romantic era (1800–1910). The most significant of these is the development of a comprehensive music notational system which enabled composers to write out their song melodies and instrumental pieces on parchment or paper. Prior to the development of musical notation, songs and pieces had to be learned “by ear”, from one person who knew a song to another person.

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This greatly limited how many people could be taught new music and how wide music could spread to other regions or countries. The development of music notation made it easier to disseminate (spread) songs and musical pieces to a larger number of people and to a wider geographic area. However the theoretical advances, particularly in regard to rhythm—the timing of notes—and polyphony—using multiple, interweaving melodies at the same time—are equally important to the development of Western music. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a pretty album with music from this period … recorded by the Collegium Musicum, Krefeld/Germany.

And I like the instrumentals much more than the songs withvocal …

Enjo this trip in the past !

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Personnel:
Collegium Musicum, Krefeld conducted by Robert Haass
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Erika Metzger-Ulrich (soprano vocals)
Otto Pingel (tenor vocals)

Alternate edition from 1960:
Alternate Edition

Tracklist:

Minnesaenger:
01. Neidhart hat wunnikich entsprossen Drer Mei Hat Mennik Herze So Schön Wir Den Anger Ie Gesehen (v.Reuenthal) 7.17
02. Spielmannstanz (Instrum.) (Anonymous; 13th Century) 2.02
03. We Ich Han Gedacht Loybere Risen (v.Ruegen) 4.34
04. Nu Alrerst Lebe Ich Mir Werde (Palästina Lied) (v.d.Vogelweide) 3.56
05. Der May Mit Lieber Zal (v.Wolkenstein) 3.30

Troubadours And Trouveres:
06. La Quarte Estampie Royale (Instrum.) (Anonymous; 13th Century) 2.05
07. Kalenda Maya (de Vaqueiras) 2.30
08. Lancan Vei La Folha (de Ventadorn) 2.46
09. Saltarello (Anonymous) 1.33
10. Dieu Soit En Cheste Maison (de la Halle) 2.33
11. Lamento Di Tristano (Anonymous; 14th Century) 2.59
12. Chevalier Mult Estez Guariz (Anonymous; 1147) 1.50

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Música Antiga da UFF – Medievo-Nordeste Cantigas e Romances (2004)

FrontCover1Música Antiga da UFF was formed in 1981, as a universitary group of Medieval and Renaissance Music. The group has a special focus on playing Medieval Iberian music, since those pieces are strongly related to Brazilian Folk music, although the group also plays pieces from other places.

Música Antiga da UFF started its activities in 1981, retrieving and transmitting not only music, but the very worldview of the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Over the years its members have specialized in the techniques of the medieval and renaissance instruments and in the interpretation of the songs of these important historical periods. Formed by Leandro Mendes, Lenora Pinto Mendes, Márcio Paes Selles, Mario Orlando, Sonia Leal Wegenast and Virginia van der Linden, the group is still researching and discovering new ways to inform the public about the early music of Western Europe. Beyond historical and musicological research, the audience has the opportunity to see replicas of the instruments used in those periods and hear the stories that come along with the songs and music performed. During their career, the group has recorded seven CDs and a themed LP that sold a total of 20.000 copies. Over these years the group has held more than 2.000 concerts throughout Brazil, recorded soundtracks to music videos, in addition to organizing courses at festivals and Renaissance fairs. Música Antiga da UFF performs in the most important concert halls of Rio de Janeiro and has also performed in concert halls throughout Brazil. (seviqc-brezice.si)

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And here´s is one their real beautiful albums full of rare medieval music:

Medieval music consists of songs, instrumental pieces, and liturgical music from about 500 A.D. to 1400. Medieval music was an era of Western music, including liturgical music (also known as sacred) used for the church, and secular music, non-religious music. Medieval music includes solely vocal music, such as Gregorian chant and choral music (music for a group of singers), solely instrumental music, and music that uses both voices and instruments (typically with the instruments accompanying the voices). Gregorian chant was sung by monks during Catholic Mass. The Mass is a reenactment of Christ’s Last Supper, intended to provide a spiritual connection between man and God. Part of this connection was established through music. This era begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century. Establishing the end of the medieval era and the beginning of the Renaissance music era is difficult, since the trends started at different times in different regions. The date range in this article is the one usually adopted by musicologists.

Medieval music

During the Medieval period the foundation was laid for the music notation and music theory practices that would shape Western music into the norms that developed during the common-practice era, a period of shared music writing practices which encompassed the Baroque music composers from 1600–1750, such as J.S. Bach and Classical music period composers from the 1700s such as W.A. Mozart and Romantic music era composers from the 1800s such as Wagner. The most obvious of these is the development of a comprehensive music notational system which enabled composers to write out their song melodies and instrumental pieces on parchment or paper. Prior to the development of musical notation, songs and pieces had to be learned “by ear”, from one person who knew a song to another person. This greatly limited how many people could be taught new music and how wide music could spread to other regions or countries. The development of music notation made it easier to disseminate (spread) songs and musical pieces to a larger number of people and to a wider geographic area. However the theoretical advances, particularly in regard to rhythm—the timing of notes—and polyphony—using multiple, interweaving melodies at the same time—are equally important to the development of Western music. (wikipedia)

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What a wonderful opiece of music, full of inner harmony and peace … for all who like such melodies from very long time ago …

Listen and enjoy !

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Personnel:
Leandro Mendes – Lenora Pinto Mendes – Márcio Paes Selles – Mario Orlando – Sonia Leal Wegenast – Virginia van der Linden

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Tracklist:
01. Verbum Caro (documento do século XIV, anônima) 5.04
02. Virga de Jesse (cantiga de Santa Maria, CSM 20) 6.40
03. Mandad’ei comigo (Martin Codax, Cantiga de Amigo, Ca II) 4.39
04. Santa Maria, Strela do Dia (cantiga de Santa Maria, CSM 100) 2.47
05. Arbolicos d’almendra (tradição oral sefaradita, anônima) 3.07
06. 22:22 Juliana e D. Jorge (romance, Rio Grande do Norte)
07. 26:41 Io mestamdo em Coimbra (excerto de romance documentado no século XVI)
08. 31:57 A Virgem mui groriosa (Cantigas de Santa Maria, CSM 42)
09. 35:49 Paulina e D. João (romance, Rio Grande do Norte)
10. 40:23 Todos me llaman ‘La bohemiana’ (tradição oral sefaradita, anônima)
11. 43:03 Vida e Morte (romance, Goiás)
12. 44:53 A la una yo naci (tradição oral sefaradita, anônima)
13. 47:25 Non sofre Santa Maria (cantiga de Santa Maria, CSM 159)
14. 52:00 Faixa bônus. Vida e Morte

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Pavle Aksentijevic – Anthology of Serbian Church (Sacred) Music (2002)

FrontCover1Byzantine as well as the old Serbian sacred music is characterized, as far as its inner essence is concerned, by simplicity or. freedom from undue complexity, by purity or freedom from everything sensual, ostentatious, insincere, and by unsurpassed power and spirituality. As regards its outer form or technical aspect, it is characterized bu the fact that it is entirely vocal, not making use of any instruments, and monophonic, that is, employing melodies in one vocal part only. In order to enrich and augment the melody, this music employs, , instead of polyphony and the accompaniment of the organ or some other I instrument, a finer, more spiritual means: the isocratima or holding-note. The work of the isocrats consists of holding a drone on the basic tone of the mode in which the melody is being sung. The isocratima not only enhances the melody, but also emphasizes the mode in which the psalm, humn or ode is being sung, and adds, solemnness and power to the psalmody. Its use goes back to the early Christian period.

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In order to provide the chanters worth needed period,of rest, and to keep the congregation in a state of inner wakefulness antiphony is employed. That is, not one but two choirs are employed, so the congregation are not subjected. to the sleep-conductive monotony of hearing continuously the same voice or voices, coming from the same part of the church.

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This music has its own system of musical scales, its own laws and canons, its own modes of composition, its own notation. The symbOlS above the words are interval signs. They do not give the pitch of every tone in the melody, bud indicate how many tones a certain note lies above or below the preceding one, orwhether it is a repetition of it. The aim of this music is not to display the fine voices of the chanters, or to entertain the congregation, or to evoke aesthetic experience. In the firct place it is a means of worship and veneration; and in the second plase, a means of self-perfection, of eliciting and cultivating man\’s higher thoughts and feelings and of oposing and eliminating his lower, undesirable ones. (by Constantine Cavarnos)

And I´m very impressed by the depth, intensity and ardency. And I include an english written booklet (20 pages).

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Personnel:
Pavle Aksentijevic (vocals)
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Byzantine chanters:
Miomir Ristić – Bratislav Ristić – Darko Manić – Nikola Popmihajlov – Damnjan Aksentijević.

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Tracklist:
01. Alleluia (6th Mode) 1.08
02. Psalomnik (Praise Verses) (1st Mode) 6.22
03. Now The Celestial Powers (6th Mode) 6.46
04. Cherubic Hymn (2nd Mode) 5.59
05. Have Mercy On Me O Lord (6th Mode) 4.33
06. We Worship Your Cross (2nd Mode) 1.06
07. God The Lord (4th Mode) 3.19
08. Alleluia (5th Mode) 1.17
09. O What A Wonderful Miracle (1st Mode) 6.30
10. You Are The Prophets Announcement (1st Mode) 2.59
11. Servikon (After The Birth) (8th Mode) 3.08
12. Sing To The Lord All the Earth (Psalm 95-1) (4th Mode) 1.21
13. Everything That Breath (Psalm 150-6) (5th Mode) 3.07
14. He Looked On The Earth (Psalm 103 and 104-32) (8th Mode) 2.50
15. Alleluia (1st Mode) 1.51

Music: Psalms of Byzantine and Serbian authors from 13th to 15th century

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Biography

Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI – Ostinato (2001)

FrontCover1Jordi Savall i Bernadet (born August 1, 1941) is a Spanish conductor and viol player. He has been one of the major figures in the field of Western early music since the 1970s, largely responsible for popularizing the viol family of instruments (notably the viola da gamba) in contemporary performance and recording. As a historian of early music his repertoire features everything from medieval, Renaissance and Baroque through to the Classical and Romantic periods. He has incorporated non-western musical traditions in his work; including African vernacular music in Les Routes De L’Eslavage or The Routes of Slavery (2017).

His musical training started at age six in the school choir of his native Igualada (1947–55). After graduating from the Barcelona’s Conservatory of Music (where he studied from 1959 to 1965) he specialized in early music, collaborating with Ars Musicae de Barcelona under Enric Gispert, studying with August Wenzinger at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland (1968–70) and eventually succeeding Wenzinger in 1974 as professor of viola da gamba at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

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In 1974 he formed the ensemble Hespèrion XX (known since 2000 as Hespèrion XXI), together with his wife soprano Montserrat Figueras, Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith. Hespèrion XX favored a style of interpretation characterized simultaneously by great musical vitality and maximum historical accuracy.

In 1987 he returned to Barcelona to found La Capella Reial de Catalunya, a vocal ensemble devoted to pre-eighteenth-century music.

In 1989 he founded Le Concert des Nations, an orchestra generally emphasizing Baroque period, but sometimes also Classical and even Romantic music such as, for example, Sinfonía [por] Grande Orquesta by Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga) (1806-1826).

More recently Savall has performed with family members. The family ensemble has included his wife Montserrat Figueras (who died in 2011) and their two children, Arianna and Ferran. Arianna plays the harp and sings, like her mother; Ferran plays the theorbo (bass lute) and sings, not only with his family but also in Barcelona jazz clubs.

Savall’s discography includes more than 100 recordings. Originally recording with EMI Classics, and then from 1975 on Michel Bernstein’s Astrée label, since 1998 he has recorded on his own label, Alia Vox. (by wikipedia)

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I’ve been a fan of Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI for a while. However it must be said that occasionally albums of the ‘early music’ era can be somewhat austere and dry, simply because the compositions may tend that way. This is not one of those recordings. This is fresh, lively, and exquisite music making, absolutely beautifully recorded by masterful musicians.

There is space and air in the sound, a nicely varied palette of different instruments, and the ensembles are small and very well placed to hear each instrument. A lute is a very soft-voiced instrument and typically recorded so that it gets lost competing with a viola da gamba and a harpsichord, but the balance here is exceptional. For instance, on ‘Greensleeves to a Ground’, the two lutes of high and middle registers are clearly placed either side of the gamba with the harpsichord discreetly chiming in when called upon in the background. You can hear every note. Tracks with more bowed strings are likewise beautifully enunciated.

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Numbers like the Canarios are sometimes familiar yet fresh. And we’ve all heard the Kanon & Gigue umpteen times and probably have our notions of what it ought to go like and tempos etc. Well there’s certainly no harm in a quick tempoed toss-off as lithely and freshly played as this one. Might even make you forget that plodding interminable version played by an out of tune string quartet at that last wedding you went to.

Much of this is sparkling brisk dance music, yet the graceful introspection of the Marini Passacaglio and the other few mild-tempo numbers are well posed and give the tapping toes a not unwelcome rest.

But this is mostly a vivacious collection that can take you back in time to when the original music makers were not only alive and talented, they were young. (Count Orloff)

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Personnel:
Michael Behringer (organ)
Sergi Casademunt (violone)
Bruno Cocset (violoncello)
Xavier Díaz (guitar, theorbo, vihuela)
Pedro Estevan (percussion)
Luca Guglielmi (organ)
Manfredo Kraemer (violin)
Eliseo Parra (percussion)
David Plantier (violin)
Arianna Savall (harp)
Jordi Savall (viola da gamba)
Pablo Valetti (violin)

InletTracklist:
01. Gallarda Napolitana (Valente)
02. Passamezzo Antico: Zarabanda (Recercada V) (Ortiz)
03. Passacalle (Falconiero)
04. Passamezzo Moderno (Recercada II) (Ortiz)
05. Ciaccona (Falconiero)
06. Ruggiero (Quinta Pars IX) (Ortiz)
07. Romanesca (Recercada VII) (Ortiz)
08. Sopra L’Aria Di Ruggiero (Rossi)
09. Passacalio (Marini)
10. Canarios (unknown)
11. Ruggiero (Merula)
12. Tres Glosas Sobre Todo El Mundo En General (de Auroxo)
13. Ciaccona (Merula)
14. Sonata A 2 (Purcell)
15. 3 Parts Upon A Ground (Purcell)
16. Kanon und Gigue (Pachelbel)
17. Greensleeves To A Ground (Anonymous)

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Sirinu – The Cradle Of The Renaissance (1995)

FrontCover1.jpgI guess, this is a real very special album:

Italian music from the time of Leonardo da Vinci – This recording of music from 15th century Italy features many lighter songs, with a predominance of instrumental work. The connection with Leonardo da Vinci is basically nominal. (medieval.org)

This is a magnificent disc of Renaissance instrumental music, songs and dances. Ensemble Sirinu is pure magic, really my only complaint is that they only have a few releases. (nocturna-artificialia.blogspot.com)

‘An excellent and hugely enjoyable recording’ (Early Music Review)

‘Sarah Stowe … is perfectly suited for this music. She has an astonishing capacity to alter the character of her voice, sounding on occasion sweet and pure, on others sexy and alluring, and sometimes even downright common, which really helps the text come alive. An excellent disc for newcomers to this sort of music, and for aficionados’ (Classic CD)

This music is heart-balm !

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Personnel:
Jon Banks (harp, sackbut, organ, viol, recorder, percussion, vocals)
Matthew Spring (lute, vocals, hurdy-gurdy, shawm, lira da braccio, viol, gittern)
Henry Stobart (recorder, bagpipes, vocals, viol, shawm, pipe, tabor)
Sara Stowe (soprano vocals, organ, recorder, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Uccelino, bel uccelino + Piva (unknown) 3.28
02. Non e tempo d’aspectare (Cara) 4.17
03. Cecus non iudicat de coloribus (Agricola) 4.45
04. Yerra con poco sabe (Cornago) 3.37
05. Scaramella / Io ne tengo (unknown) 2.40
06. O mia cieca e dura sorte (Cara) 9-09
07. Helas madame que feraige (Agricola) 2.06
08. Nam edunt de micis (unknown) 1.48
09. Ben venga maggio (unknown) 3.31
10. Io vegio la mia vita io finire (unknown) 1.27
11. Ricercare XV (Bossinensis) / Scopri, lingua (Tromboncino) 5.38
12. De dos la mer (unknown) 1.24
13. Gridan vostri ochi (Aquila) 3.11
14. Per la mya cara (unknown) 1.23
15. Aime sospiri (Giustinian) 1.41
16. La martinella (Isaac) 3.06
17. J’ay pris amours (unknown) 4.18
18. Canzon de’ pifari dico el Ferrarese (unknown) 1.22
19. Regina del cor mio (unknown) 1.33
20. Dunque piangiamo (Poliziano) 2.39
21. Udite selve / Villana (Poliziano) 4.36

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About the composers:
Alexander Agricola (?1446-1506)
Serafino de’ Ciminelli dall’ Aquila (1466-1500)
Franciscus Bossinensis (fl1510-1510)
Marchetto Cara (c. 1470-? 1525)
Johannes Cornago (fl c1455-1485)
Leonardo Giustinian (c1383-1446)
Heinrich Isaac (c1450-1517)
Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494)
Bartolomeo Tromboncino (c1470-1535)

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Review

Blackmore’s Night – Fires At Midnight (2001)

FrontCover1.jpgFires at Midnight is the third studio album by the group Blackmore’s Night, released July 10, 2001 through SPV/Steamhammer. In comparison to their previous two releases, there are more electric guitar parts on this album, whilst maintaining a folk rock direction. The album was a Top Ten record in Germany.

On December 2001, Fires At Midnight was a finalist on the New Age Voice award for the best vocal album of the year. In 2004 the album went Gold in the Czech Republic.

The album was one of the 10 international bestsellers in Russia during the Autumn of 2001. The single “Times They Are A Changin” stayed in the Russian top 20 Hits for over 9 weeks.

It featured the singles “The Times They Are a Changin'”, “Home Again” and “All Because of You”. (by wikipedia)

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One of hard rock’s most influential guitarists has opted for the cultural upheaval and regality of the Renaissance era, as Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Candice Night spearhead a band who abides by a hearty cross-pollination of English folk, 16th century melodies, and progressive rock. Here, Blackmore injects tasteful electric lead lines into a mix consisting of buoyantly executed rhythmic structures and Ms. Knight’s whispery, and at times, satiny vocalizations. Thus, Blackmore’s Night proclaims a festive atmosphere throughout these 16 pieces, while the band’s charming rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin'” might represent the lone deviation from the grand scheme of things to coincide with this ensemble’s altogether cheery demeanor and novel approach. Moreover, for those expecting to hear Blackmore ravage his electric with his now-infamous high-octane, blues-drenched power chords and doomsday chops, forget it. With this release, subtly, finesse, and nuance reign supreme amid a series of persuasive works that cover quite a bit of fertile terrain. (by Glenn Astarita)

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Personnel:
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar, hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, renaissance drums, tambourine)
Robert “Sir Robert of Normandie” Curiano (bass, background vocals)
Chris Devine (violin, viola, recorders, flute)
Carmine Giglio (keyboards)
Candice Night (vocals, pennywhistle, shawms, harp, recorder, electronic bagpipes)
Pat Regan (keyboards)
Mike Sorrentino (drums)
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John Passanante (trombone)
Richard Wiederman (trumpet)
+
Albert Dannemann (bagpipes on 11.)

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Tracklist:
01. Written In The Stars (Blackmore/Night) 4.47
02. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Dylan) 3.33
03. I Still Remember (Traditional) 5.42
04. Home Again (Blackmore/Night) 5.28
05. Crowning Of The King (Traditional) 4.32
06. Fayre Thee Well (Blackmore)  2:05
07. Fires At Midnight (Traditional) 7.36
08. Hanging Tree (Blackmore/Night) 3.47
09. The Storm (Blackmore/Night) 6.12
10. Mid Winter’s Night (Traditional) 4.30
11. All Because Of You (Blackmore/Night) 3.37)
12. Waiting Just For You (Traditional) 3.17
13. Praetorius (Courante) (Praetorius) 1.57
14. Benzai-Ten (Blackmore/Night) 3.52
15. Sake Of Song (B-side to the European Single “The Times They Are a Changin’ ) (Blackmore/Night) 3.13
16. Village On The Sand (Blackmore/Night) 4.57
16. Again Someday (Blackmore/Night) 1.49

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Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble – In A Medieval Garden (1967)

FrontCover1After more than a dozen years of success with folk-based indie label Elektra, which he started from his college dorm room, Jac Holzman established Nonesuch Records in 1964 with the goal of making classical recordings affordable and accessible. Nonesuch LP releases were priced at $2.50, half the cost of a typical classical release, comparable to that of a quality paperback book. The label’s first album was a French recording of Renaissance vocal music and it set the template for the first few dozen subsequent releases: quality European recordings licensed by Holzman at cut-rate prices, attractively packaged in the label’s house graphic style.

By the 1967 release of In a Medieval Garden by the Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble, however,Splendor, In A Medieval Garden Nonesuch had begun picking up domestic talent and expanding their musical scope (including commissioning a groundbreaking electronic piece by composer Morton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon, itself an excellent board game accompaniment). Buetens, a former New Yorker attending graduate school at Stanford University in Northern California, recorded just one LP for Nonesuch, but it’s an evocative delight. With the group’s focus on the lute, a stringed instrument descended from the Middle Eastern oud with some similarities to the later-to-come guitar, this gentle album effortlessly conjures up another era and milieu. Recorders and vocals offer up subtle melodies over instrumentally sparse but often rhythmically complex backings.

With its transporting qualities, this collection of early music makes an excellent complement to many tabletop games set in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. (by amoeba.com)

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Back in the day when we listened to our favorite music on LP’s and reel-to-reel tapes, I had this tape. It was one of my favorites and I played it ’til most of the magnetic coating was gone. Well, at least some of it. Twenty some years ago, I lost my capability to play back the r-t-r tapes. That was generally upsetting, but I could replace many of my treasures on CD, and I was glad to do so, thus all was not lost, except for this gem. What really hit me hard was I could no longer listen to my Medieval Garden tape. A few weeks ago, I learned the music from the original tape had become available for download. Even though I’m not one to keep music on my phone or computer, I downloaded it immediately. I’m thrilled with being able to listen to this music again. The fidelity is superb and I understand a CD may be forthcoming. I certainly hope it is. As with this download, it will delight the ears.

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If you know this tape (or maybe the LP) from years gone bye, this download will reach out and touch you just like it did back then. If you don’t know it, it will immediately transport you to a medieval garden in which troubadours, court musicians, courtly ladies and gentlemen while away sunny, autumn afternoon hours in playing and singing favorite poetry for their own enjoyment. Close your eyes and immediately, you’ll be there.

This album features American pioneer lutenist Stanley Buetens, with several other individuals singing and playing recorders, possibly krummhorns, viols, and perhaps other medieval/renaissance instruments. The quality of the recording is absolutely superb, with each individual instrument or voice clearly discernible and in exquisite balance with the rest of the group. (by Blacksheep)

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A wonderful collection! Though it is clear these recordings were made over decades, they feel extremely authentic. You definitely get your money’s worth. Highly recommended for lute and renaissance music fans. (by Sam Lowry)

Stan Buetens co-founded the Lute Society of America with Ken LaBarre, his student and collaborator on several lute works offered here. Stan was invited to teach the lute at Stanford University in 1966 and became president of the LSA in 1967. (by lutestuff.com)

Born and raised in New York City, he attended Queen’s College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in voice.

He served in the Army during the Korean War. In New York he worked as a musician, playing the lute, and as a music editor for films.

Mr. Buetens came West in 1966 to attend graduate school in music at Stanford University, and never left the area.

He continued his career performing and teaching lute, guitar and voice. He even wrote a method for the lute that was widely used throughout the world, family members say.

Stanley Buetens02.jpgMr. Buetens worked at various jobs, including as a music professor, music publisher, printer and paralegal. He thought of himself as a tinkerer and Renaissance man, the family says. He was always busy creating, in one way or the other, says his oldest child, Sophi Buetens of Oakland.

He had a love of classical music and opera, languages, gardening and science. He followed the news, loved to read and cook, and enjoyed watching football and tennis. He was always exceedingly proud of his children and never ceased encouraging them in their own pursuits, says Ms. Buetens.

His wife, Blair Scott Buetens, died in March.

Survivors include his four children, Sophi Buetens and Sara Buetens, both of Oakland; Raymond Buetens of Aptos; and Julian Buetens of New Mexico. Other survivors are his sister, Miriam Simpson of New York; brothers Bernard Buetens of New Jersey and Melvin Buetens of Florida; and five grandchildren. (by almanacnews.com)

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Personnel:
Martha Blackman (violin)
Roland Blow (recorder, crumhorn)
Stanley Buetens (lute, vocals)
Catherine Liddell (lute, percussion)
Linda Nied (recorder)
Lawrence Selman (violin, percussion)
Diane Tramontini (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Ic Draghe De Mutse Clutse (Obrecht) 1.30
02. In Seculum Artifex (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.11
03. Auf fief ein Hubsches Freuelein (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.39
04. La Spagna (Anon. (15th Cent.) 2.05
05. Trotto (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.07
06. Ave Verum Corpus (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.38
07. La Spagna (II) (Capirola) 1.22
08. En Albion (Anon. (14th Cent.) 2.34
09. Ma Tredol Rosignol (Borlet) 1.42
10. In Seculum Viellatoris (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.00
11. Die Katzenpfote (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.42
12. Pour L’amour De Ma Doulce Amye (Dufay) 2.21
13. Basse Dance “Tous Mes Amys” (Traditional/Attaingnant) 1.05
14. Dale Si Le Das (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.00
15. Adieu M’amour, Adieu Ma Joie (Dufay) 3.28

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1931 – 2009

 

Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band – Same (1973)

FrontCover1Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band was a collaboration between the early music ensemble St. George’s Canzona, Derby-based folk group The Druids, and Trevor Crozier’s ‘Broken Consort’. They were backed by three jazz musicians: Jeff Clyne (bass guitar), Dave MacRae (electric piano) and Trevor Tomkins (drums).

The album title is a pun on the piece ‘Giles Farnabys Dreame’ by the renaissance composer Giles Farnaby.

The album largely consists of renaissance dance tunes played on a combination of early and modern instruments. This prefigures some of the work later undertaken by the Albion Band and Home Service. It is chiefly notable for its experimental nature, demonstrating some of the diverse attempts at fusion at the time which resulted in subgenres such as folk jazz and medieval folk rock. It is most similar in its sound to medieval folk and progressive rock bands like Gryphon and Gentle Giant. The rarity of the album has made it the subject of enthusiasm for some collectors.

The song ‘Newcastle Brown’ was subsequently released as a single (Argo, AFW112, 1973). (by Wikipedia)

“Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band make an entirely new medieval-electric sound. Formed by linking the medieval St George’s Canzona with the folk trio Broken Consort, the resulting band brings together early and present day instruments in imaginative and unique performances of some of the most tuneful and infectious music of all time.

The Dancing Master

“Most of the titles on this album are taken from ‘The English Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Britain’s first ever music publisher. The Tin Pan Alley of 1655 was situated near the Temple Church in London, and it was from a tiny shop near the church door that Playford’s publications were sold.

“The English Dancing Master or ‘Plaine and easie rules for the dancing of country dances, with the tune to each dance’ was first published in 1651, during the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Commonwealth. It was an austere time, with most of the old customs forbidden: dancing, profane singing, wakes, revels, ringing of bells, maypoles were all banned as dangerous to the security of the nation, and it seems a curious time to publish a collection of dance music. Playford’s own explanation was simple…’I publish this book lest the tunes be forgot’…

“The volume was immediately successful and went into several editions over the next twenty years (in fact it is still in print today). A possible reason for its popularity might have been that although Parliament abolished most forms of merry making, the Lord Protector himself seems to have enjoyed the occasional revel and given dancing a subdued show of approval…

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“14th November 1657: ‘On Wednesday last was my Lord Protector’s daughter married to the Earl of Warwick’s grandson; and on Thursday was the wedding feast kept at Whitehall, where they had 48 violins, 50 trumpets and much mirthe with frolics, besides mixed dancing (a thing heretofore accounted profane) till five of the clock yesterday morning.’ (by Kevin Daly; taken from the original liner notes)

Oh yes … not only an extremely rare album, but an album, that is really wonderful … old renaissance tunes performed in a very gentle and warm sound and style …

A more than unique and brilliant album !

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Personnel:

St. George’s Canzona:
Frank Grubb (rebec, Recorder)
John Grubb (lute, harpsichord)
Derek Harrison (rebec)
John Lawes (crumhorn, Recorder)
Mike Oxenham (crumhorn, clarinet, curtal, Recorders)
John Sothcott (citole, crumhorn, rebec, recorders, whistle)
Leila Ward (crumhorn, Recorders)

The Druids (vocals):
Judi Longden – Keith Kendrick – John Adams – Mick Hennessy

Trevor Crozier’s Broken Consort:
Annie Crozier (concertina, bowed psaltery)
Trevor Crozier (vocals, banjo, cittern, guitar, harmonica, mandolin)
Vic Gammon (concertina, guitar)
+
Jeff Clyne (bass)
Dave MacRae (piano)
Trevor Tomkins (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. The Hare’s Maggot 2.45
02. Rufty Tufty/Beau Stratagem/Appley House 1.45
03. Hole In The Wall/The Chirping Of The Nightingale 1.50
04. Pastime With Good Company 2.55
05. Daphne/Nonsuch/Jack’s Maggot/Childgrove 4.47
06. Shrewsbury Lasses 2.36
07. Newcastle Brown 2.54
08. Helston Furry Dance/Picking Of Sticks/The Butterfly 2.02
09. The Indian Queen 2.40
10. The Happy Clown 1.44
11. Ratcliffe Highway 2.42
12. The Twenty Ninth Of May 2.01
13. The Black Nag/Poor Robins’ Maggot/Greensleeves 1.59
14. Portabella 2.37
15. The Draper’s Maggot/Tower Hill 3.07
16. Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot/The British Toper/London’s Glory 4.11

All songs are traditionals except “Newcastle Brown” which was written by Sothcott/Daly

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