Five essential works by Orlando Gibbons
We choose the best pieces by the Tudor composer Orlando Gibbons
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.
Robin Blaze (countertenor), Winchester Cathedral Choir/David Hill
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.
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.
Explore Records EXP0006
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.
The Short Service
A different side to Gibbons. This attractively straightforward setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis is highly melodic, prayerful and atmospheric.
Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.