Sacred and secular music from Gothic Britain 2 CD set in an elegant, book-like package.
Sacred and secular music from one of Britain's greatest historic and artistic periods. This collection of music features some of the greatest English composers of the age, including the royal composers Henry VI and Henry VIII, along with their court and chapel musicians. Music in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England was prominent in virtually every quarter of society - rich and poor, lay and clerical. It existed in many different forms, from simple folk tunes passed orally from one generation to the next, to improvised part-songs (known as descant), and the 'higher' art of composed polyphony (notated music in two or more parts). It is mainly this latter form which has come down to us in manuscripts, but what survives represents only a small fraction of the music that circulated in late medieval England. Music (especially church music) was a dispensable craft, prone to being outmoded by new compositions and changing tastes and styles. An early fifteenth-century choir-book, for example, could, within a generation or two, be dismembered and the parchment used for other purposes. It is also the case that the Reformations of the mid-sixteenth century were particularly destructive with respect to music, and much of what remains has survived by mere chance. Still, there is plenty to sample as you will hear on these two wonderful cds.