Cynthia’s Revels

The Flautadors
65:10
First Hand Records FHR36
Music by Aston, Bevin, Byrd, Dering, Dowland (incl. arr. Morley!), Farnaby, Alfonso Ferrabosco II, Holborne, Morley, Tye & anon

In Cynthia’s Revels, a play by Ben Johnson, Queen Elizabeth I was represented as Cynthia, the virgin goddess of the moon. It included songs and dances, both of which the queen is known to have greatly enjoyed, so the Flautadors have used this theme to present a programme of instrumental music which might have been heard at Elizabeth’s court.

The players have made their own arrangements for recorder consort, sometimes combining more than one version of a tune, adding Van Eyck diminutions to the Dowland Lachrimæ pavane and combining the Byrd and Holborne versions of The Queen’s Almain. This is a well-planned CD, with music flowing comfortably from one track to the next. The Flautadors, sometimes joined by a fifth player, Leo Chadburn, play with poise and precision on a set of renaissance recorders made by Thomas Prescott based on 16th century instruments in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Victoria Helby