PARTHENIA - A CONSORT OF VIOLS
THE FLAMING FIREMary Queen of Scots and Her World
John Bennet, John Black, William Byrd, Anthony Holborne, Robert Johnson, James Lauder, Renaldo Paradiso, David Peebles, Robert Burns (arr. Richard Einhorn), Thomas Tallis
PARTHENIA - A CONSORT OF VIOLS
RYLAND ANGEL, tenor and countertenor
DONGSOK SHIN, virginal
"listeners can look forward to many rewards [on this CD]... excellent ensemble playing and interpretations rich in depth... Ryland Angel renders texts clearly and with a pure approach appropriate for these simple, reverent songs... a beautiful set"
Patricia Halverson, Early Music America [December 2015]
“This is an enjoyable disc and if this music is new to you then it works very well indeed. It makes for a good entry point into a varied world of mostly British Renaissance music covering more than two centuries. All of it is sensitively and elegantly performed.”
Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International [August 2015]
“[This program] offers a generous 27 selections drawn from both Scottish and English sources, some of which actually relate directly to the queen... the selections are fresh and unfamiliar. We are introduced to quite a few Scottish musicians rarely encountered… Mr Angel sings in both tenor and countertenor ranges with equal facility. The four-member Parthenia consort of viols is a resource of established quality. Their playing has an understated suavity here. Altogether, this release is very enjoyable.”
Barker, American Record Guide [July/August 2015]
“The disc offers three types of arrangements: viol consort, keyboard works performed on an unidentified virginal, and pieces for voice and accompaniment... Parthenia figures into much of it, either by itself or sharing the spotlight with Ryland Angel. Their contribution is well judged, a mix of refined, focused tone, subtle phrasing, and acute attention to rhythms... Dongsok Shin hasn’t much to do on the album, but his single solo, the aforementioned Almaygne of Johnson, is dispatched with enough panache to hope that we’ll have a solo album of similar material from him, and soon... It’s a sad rarity to find a CD that effectively presents a viol consort well, and manages to effectively balance that same consort with voice. This is such an album. It has clarity and closeness, and a fine presence without any of the dreaded New Age Cathedral resonance that’s all too often applied to discs such as this... this reviewer finds music, sound, and presentation all in superior accord. Recommended.”
Barry Brenesal, Fanfare [July/August 2015]
[ * * * * ] “Most of the works here are quite calm and reflective, haunted by the spirituality of the age but not dominated by it, and take some concentrated listening. If you are up for that then your efforts will not go unrewarded, as the performances and sound are first rate. Parthenia scores another winner.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [May 2015]
“[enjoy this] 65 minutes of short, self-contained, yet far from miniature vocal and intimate instrumental music for its profundity, concentration and insight into the concerns which enveloped a generation or two of Scots and English in the second half of the Sixteenth Century… The familiar [works] are mixed intelligently with the less so. Contrast on this CD is as much of a virtue as is the understated and dynamic yet subdued instrumental playing – of the strings in particular. [Parthenia's] playing is lively and insightful; it suits both the particularity of any one piece and the variety of what they all offer when sequenced like this... [The recording] is not so close as to be claustrophobic. The music is presented as music, not a performance. This works well, given the likely environment in which most of it must have been first performed… an enjoyable collection illustrative of the music of its time.”
Mark Sealey, ClassicalNet [March 2015]
“offered here, in historically informed and very well-played and well-sung performances, is a potpourri of music of the 16th and early 17th centuries...and offered for the delectation of listeners enamored of this historical period and the vocal and instrumental sounds it produced.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [March 2015]
PROGRAM NOTESAlthough only nine years younger than the English monarch, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), w as t he daughter of Queen Elizabeth I’s (1533–1603) first cousin, James V of Scotland (his mother was Margaret Tudor, elder sister to Henry VIII). This close relationship was at the root of their mortal conflict: Mary maintained all her life, in spite of allegiances, treaties, battles, intrigues, reversals, and murders, that she was heir to the throne of England (as well as thrones of France and Scotland), if not in Elizabeth’s immediate stead, at least upon the event of her death. To put an impossibly complicated political and religious situation into a nutshell (even Schiller could not deal with all of it in his epic drama), Mary’s insistence was intolerable to the Virgin Queen.
In fact Mary ruled in Scotland for a scant six years. Mary’s father died six days after her birth; thus she became “queen regnant” before it was assured that she would live at all, and the government was entrusted to a sequence of noble regents. At five she was sent to France as the intended wife of the Dauphin Francis, son of the powerful Henry II (who fully purposed thus to acquire Scotland), and grew up in the French court, where she was a great favorite, skilled in music, poesy (in French, Latin, Greek, Spanish, and Italian, as well as Scots and English), horsemanship, falconry, and needlework. She married at sixteen, her husband died a year later, and she returned to Scotland at eighteen as Queen.
She was unprepared for the snake pit that awaited her. During that violently turbulent year of 1560 a group of Protestant Lords under the leadership of John Knox (c. 1514–1572) had succeeded in ousting Scotland’s Catholic government and Mary’s current regent (her mother), and establishing the Reformed Church, effecting a formal break between the Scottish Kirk (Presbyterian) and Rome. Mary, always a Catholic, hoped for mutual tolerance, but conflict broke out at every turn. She married her cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, four years later, but in February 1567 he was assassinated. She was herself accused of complicity in the plot, tried, and despite lack of any verdict, imprisoned and forced to abdicate in favor of her one-yearold son James VI of Scotland, later James I of England. Needless to say, all the regents for the young king thereafter were Protestants. After an abortive military attempt to regain her throne, Mary fled to England to seek the protection of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The consequences of this misstep are too well known to rehearse here.
The ascendancy of the Reformed Church had a disastrous effect upon the musical life of Scots. The Royal Court of James V, although less lavish than those of Henry VIII or Elizabeth of England, had done its best to emulate its cousins to the south, maintaining a stable of professional musicians and composers. Many of the larger Churches had “Sang Schules” to train their choristers, and frequently sent their star pupils to study abroad. The new Kirk, on the other hand, considered all polyphony “prophaine” or “filthie,” all dancing “promuscuous,” and all instruments, even church organs, of the Devil. All printing of secular music was now forbidden. As a result, all that remains of Scottish music – other than chordal hymns – for a hundred years, from 1560 to 1662, is from manuscript, in most cases fragmentary: three dozen songs, half a dozen dances, and a handful of instrumental fantasies.
“[Parthenia is] one of the brightest lights in New York’s early-music scene” THE NEW YORKER
The viol quartet PARTHENIA brings early music into the present with repertoire ancient to freshly commissioned, animated with a ravishing sound and a remarkable sense of ensemble. Parthenia is presented in concerts across the United States, and produces its own series in New York City, collaborating regularly with the world’s foremost early music specialists. The quartet has been featured in prestigious festivals and series as wide-ranging as Music Before 1800, Harriman-Jewell Series, Maverick Concerts, Regensburg Tage Alter Musik, Shalin Lui Performing Arts Center, Pierpont Morgan Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale Center for British Art, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre and Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Parthenia’s performances range from its popular touring program, When Music & Sweet Poetry Agree, a celebration of Elizabethan poetry and music with actor Paul Hecht, to the complete viol fantasies of Henry Purcell, as well as the complete instrumental works of Robert Parsons, and commissions and premieres of new works annually. Parthenia is represented by GEMS Live!
[ www.parthenia.org ]
Countertenor and composer Ryland Angel has built a fine international reputation on both the opera and concert stage in repertoire ranging from the Baroque to operatic commissions at major opera houses, concert halls and festivals. Highlights of his operatic career include Radamisto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Agrippina (New York City Opera), Tolomeo (Muziektheater Transparant), Semele (Cologne Opera), Rodelinda (Carré Theatre, Amsterdam), Julius Caesar (Utah Opera and Opera Colorado), Il Sant’Alessio (Les Arts Florissants; New York, Paris and London), Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Toulouse Opera), Theodora (Dallas Opera), Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Boston Early Music Festival), Acis and Galatea (Hobby Center Houston) and Doux Mensonges (Opéra National de Paris). Angel has created roles in many world premiere performances. Most recently, he premiered Gregory Spears’ Wolf-in-Skins (Philadelphia), the title role in Tesla in New York by Phil Kline and Jim Jarmusch (Hopkins Center, Dartmouth) and a new work by Tarik O’Regan and Gregory Spears (Opera New Jersey/American Opera Projects). Angel has performed on more than 50 recordings, several of which have been Grammy nominees, including music by J.S. Bach, Beaujoyeux, Charpentier, Handel, Lorenzani, Bobby McFerrin, Monteverdi, Peri, Purcell, Rosenmüller, Scarlatti, Spears and Stradella. A forthcoming documentary The Mystery of Dante (Warner Brothers) will feature an original score by Angel, as well as his voice on the title track.
Boston-born Dongsok Shin studied modern piano throughout college, and since the early 1980s has specialized exclusively in early keyboard instruments. A member of the internationally acclaimed REBEL baroque ensemble since 1997, Shin has appeared with American Classical Orchestra, ARTEK, Bach Sinfonia (Washington D.C.), Concert Royal, Dryden Ensemble, Early Music New York, and Pro Musica Rara, among others. As an accompanist, he has collaborated with Renee Fleming, Rufus Müller and Barthold Kuijken. He has toured throughout North America, Europe and Mexico, has been heard on numerous radio broadcasts. As a recording artist, he can be heard on the Bridge, ATMA Classique, Dorian Sono Luminus, Ex Cathedra, Helicon, Hollywood Records, Lyrichord, Naxos and Newport labels. Shin is also active as a technician, tuning and maintaining harpsichords and other early keyboard instruments in the New York City area, including instruments held by the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is well known as a fine producer, engineer and editor of numerous early music recordings.
PROGRAMFROM SONGS OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL
Traditional; Robert Burns, arranged by Richard Einhorn
Ca’ the Yowes
16th-CENTURY SCOTTISH SONGS, DANCES AND FANCIES
Come, my Children dere
JOHN BLACK (fl. 1546–1587)
In a garden so greene
The flaming fire
JAMES LAUDER (c. 1535-1595)
My Lord of Marche Paven
Attrib. Wilson (c. mid 16th century)
KIRK, CROFT AND CHAPEL
Ane lessone upon the First Psalme
DAVID PEEBLES (fl. 1530-1576)
Psalm 18 in Reports
Je suis déshéritée
Our father God celestial
WILLIAM BYRD (c. 1540-1623)
The Noble Famous Queen
ROBERT JOHNSON (c. 1500-c. 1560)
A Knell of Johnson
ELIZABETHAN SONGS AND FANCIES
ANTHONY HOLBORNE (c. 1550-1602)
JOHN BENNET (fl. 1599-1614)
Eliza, her name gives honour
ROBERT JOHNSON (c. 1583-1633)
Almaygne: Mr. Johnson
RENALDO PARADISO (d. 1570)
THOMAS TALLIS (c. 1505-1585)
The Third Tune [from Archbishop Parker’s Psalter, 1567]
FROM SONGS OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL
Traditional; Robert Burns, arranged by Richard Einhorn
Lament of Mary Queen of Scots
A Rose-bud By My Early Walk
Ye Banks and Braes