Mynstrelles with Straunge Sounds: the earliest consort music for viol

Clare Wilkinson mS, Rose Consort of Viols
Delphian DCD34169

This is a marvellous recording. Frustratingly, it’s years since I last looked at so much of this music: some of it has come back, but I haven’t managed to look out the scores. But no matter – just listen. The viols were created in imitation of an altar-piece by Lorenzo Costa (in San Giovanni in Monte, Bologna) from 1497, i. e., before any surviving viol, by Roger Rose and students at West Dean College. The repertoire is international. It is appropriate that MS Bologna Q 18 matches the picture, to the extent that part of that early 16th-century manuscript was copied by the composer and choirmaster Giovanni Spataro in Bologna. The printed pieces in the first decade include a variety of pieces that were of the late 15th century, while the English Henry VIII Book follows early in the 1510s.

There are 24 items here, from a range of sources – personally, I’d have welcomed details of the source for each piece. In fact, I’d love to see John Bryan publish the music for voice and viols – perhaps with further details from David Fallows? Clare Wilkinson is marvellous at singing music that is mostly less elaborate than the accompaniments. Do buy it!

Clifford Bartlett

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