Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Robert McDonald, Stephen Wallace, Quintessential Sackbut & Cornett Ensemble|
Elisa Is the Fayrest Quene
Listen to Samples
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard a part of this CD on the radio yesterday morning, and I just have to have it. It is the most gorgeous sound...whoever their countertenor is ...what a voice!"
The Queen's Royal Sackbuts...
ewomack | MN USA | 11/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Until scientists get their act together and solve the problem of time travel, we'll have to rely on excellent discs such as this one for succor. Just put it on, press play, and timewarp to the Elizabethan era. Many sixteenth century surprises await. Ever grab a sackbut? If not, this CD bursts with the trombone's slightly more mellifluous distant cousin. And the lungs on these vocalists could demolish Hadrian's Wall. When this inexorable aveolar machine belts out "Elisa is the fayrest Quene that ever trod upon the greene" any thoughts to the contrary sag into goo. But when lungs meet sackbuts, look out. Some of the disc's best moments occur when raging operatic voices soar over a thick layer of sweet sackbut and coronett blats. A new (well, old) twist on vocal arrangement not often heard. This combo reaches asymptotic heights on "Come again, sweet love doth now invite" by the very late John Dowland. One listen just won't do. The song's alternating and intersecting phrases cascade like a dewfall of mead. Of course love, a painful love, a knife-in-the-heart love, a love of pure ravishing agony, a lets-just-kill-ourselves-to-stop-the-pain type of chivarlic love punctuates the lyrics. An amazing song from any angle. An amazing disc from any track.
Interspersed throughout the vocal delights are pavans, galliards, almains, and aiers. In other words: dances. The fayre Quene could apparently boogie with the best of them. Harpsicords, horns, bagpipes, and a "regal organ" provide the melodies and rhythms that likely regulated royal prancing. But wait! The CD booklet confesses that "Music written for cornetts and sackbuts during the reign of the first Elizabeth does not exist." What? Have we been duped? What's all this then? Apparently, the disc attempts to recreate the music of Queen Elizabeth I through a somewhat speculative pondering of the court's musical records. No one knows exactly what was played, but extant manuscripts suggest what was probably played. For example, some pieces from John Dowland's 1597 "The First Booke of Songes or Ayres" appear (the CD booklet also includes a reproduction of the book's gorgeous frontspiece). Sources accompany song listings in many cases. So, regardless of the CD's speculatory selection, the music nonetheless originates from the time of the Fayre Quene. Likely she heard many of these. Maybe she even danced to them. No records exist to prove or disprove this, unfortunately.
This vague historical record does not sour the music an iota. Throw the purism to the rubbish bin and bathe the cochleas. "Elisa is the fayrest Quene" conjures up its age as effectively as any book or period movie could. Not only that, the music stands by itself uncaged of historic context. Ultimately, it's just great music performed excellently by the QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble. Also, the deliciously designed CD booklet adds to the experience and contains a boatload of juicy facts. All of this and more than an hour of incredible period music, complete with a real madrigal. Give the pleasure centers of your brain a historical wetting and spin this one often."
The Pete | Illinois | 11/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a tremendous CD to have if you have any interest in Tudor England or Renaissance music. The music is lovingly performed and recorded and, as close as these untrained ears can tell, sounds very authentic. The CD is also beautifully packaged.
I purchased this as a gift for a Tudorphile I know along with Alison Weir's book on Elizabeth. It made a great one-two punch. I find myself listening to this CD quite a bit, especially at work. Wonderful to put on the headphones and shut out the world."