Cornyshe, Fevin, Capirola, Barbireau, Marbecke, Ashton & Henry VIII

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Ashton & Henry VIII,Barbireau,Capirola,Cornyshe,Fevin,Marbecke
LABELS: Signum
ALBUM TITLE: Madame d’amours: Music for the Six Wives of Henry VIII
WORKS: find works
PERFORMER: Jennie Cassidy, Musica Antiqua of London, Philip Thorby
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 044
Madame d’Amours can seduce, but not with words. Aided by scholarship, this disc reimagines the musical presence of each queen at the court of Henry VIII. Musica Antiqua of London’s command of diverse repertoires, instruments and interpretive approaches allows it to flaunt differences between the music of Henry’s various consorts. Humour, cerebral sophistication and tenderness each find their proper expression in the knitting together of counterpoint and in the delicate rhythmic shading by the players. Particularly pleasing is the robust tone and freedom of line of Jacob Heringman’s lute solos.

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The singing is another matter, however. Jennie Cassidy’s vocal colour is too pallid and uniform to convince the listener of the meaning of her words, or to convey the stylistic contrasts of her music. Her melodies sit largely in her middle range, which, although suitable for melancholic moods, is too wispy to animate coquettish or joyful lyrics. Her period pronunciation is charming, but is twinned with an invariable scoop up to notes at phrase endings. Meticulous sound engineering maintains a balance between voice and string parts, but cannot retrieve the vocal line when it is overwhelmed by wind instruments.

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The King’s ladies of love deserve to be heard in greater vigour throughout. Berta Joncus