Five essential works by Orlando Gibbons

We choose the best pieces by the Tudor composer

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Five essential works by Orlando Gibbons
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This is the record of John

Gibbons’s beautiful anthem, setting verses from St John’s Gospel, is a gentle narrative for alto solo and chorus and shows the composer’s gift for dramatic writing.

Recommended recording:
Robin Blaze (countertenor), Winchester Cathedral Choir/David Hill
Helios CDH55228

 

 

O Clap your hands

Written to celebrate his doctorate from Oxford in 1622, this masterful, exciting anthem written for eight parts contains wonderful imitative writing, sprightly cross-rhythms and superb antiphony.

Recommended recording:
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury
EMI Classics 394 4302

 

 

 

Fantasy of foure parts

Among his greatest works for the keyboard, Gibbons’s Fantasy is widein scope, and ebbs and flows in an almost Romantic fashion. Surprising, pleasing music.

Recommended recording:
Christopher Hogwood
Explore Records EXP0006

 

 

 

In nomines

Scored for four or five viols, these chamber works use, like the Fantasy above, intricate, sophisticated counterpoint, but they make for utterly delightful and hypnotic listening.

Recommended recording:
Phantasm
Avie AV0032

 

 

The Short Service

A different side to Gibbons. This attractively straightforward setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis is highly melodic, prayerful and atmospheric.

Recommended recording:
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly
Naxos 8.553130

 

 

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