Collection: For His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts

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COMPOSERS: Bassano,Brade,King Henry VIII,Locke
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: English Music from Henry VIII to Charles II; The Wind Music of Matthew Locke
PERFORMER: Timothy Roberts (organ, etc) His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts


In their much-praised first disc for Hyperion, His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts took us on the Grand Tour of continental Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is equally rewarding to explore the music being created back in England during the same period. An enormous wealth of music is revealed, from the energetic and earthy bassedances of Henry VIII himself through to serious contrapuntal Fantasias by Jerome Bassano. Relief from uninterrupted wind music is provided by organ and harpsichord solos or occasionally by the curious regal (a kind of portable organ). The Celtic dances of William Brade are beguiling, but most satisfying of all is the performance of Matthew Locke’s For His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts. These players demonstrate perfectly how a balance of scholarship and expert period performance can restore familiar music to such radiant good health that we wonder how it ever survived before. Unanimity of articulation, gently tapered phrase endings and the soft fluency of the two cornetts combine to give rare pleasure. Christopher Mowat