Tomkins: Prelude; Fancy; Three In nomines; Voluntary; Pavans; Galliard; Fancy; Toy – Made at Poole Court; Robin Hood; Ground

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Tomkins
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm
WORKS: Prelude; Fancy; Three In nomines; Voluntary; Pavans; Galliard; Fancy; Toy – Made at Poole Court; Robin Hood; Ground
PERFORMER: Bernhard Klapprott (harpsichord, virginals)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 607 0704-2
I don’t expect Klapprott playing Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656) to have quite the same appeal as The Three Tenors, but this disc accentuates the potential problems of a recording devoted to a single composer and genre. Tomkins experimented with many forms of keyboard music, yet they are strangely archaic, retrospective works, with all too often an almost static harmonic language and little rhythmic impetus.

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On this disc (the second in his Tomkins series), Bernhard Klapprott includes a selection of Pavans, In nomines and a Ground – all pieces of a high seriousness – alongside lighter miniatures like A Toy, and a potentially sprightly Galliard. There’s no doubting his technical proficiency, but the choice of relentlessly ponderous tempi enhances the dour introspection of this music. Kate Bolton