Gibbons: Fantasias; In nomines; The Cries of London

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LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Fantasias; In nomines; The Cries of London
PERFORMER: Paul Nicholson (organ); Fretwork, Red Byrd
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45144 2 DDD (1989)
Although some of Gibbons’s most masterly music is contained in his 42 instrumental fantasias for anything from two to six parts, his name is still more often associated with his church anthems and madrigals, more easily performed with modern forces. The pure, abstract contrapuntal writing of the fantasias entirely suited Gibbons’s style. Fretwork’s selection here shows the scope possible in the form: lively, Italianate dancing, mournful discords and drooping suspensions, the hint of a popular tune weaving among the intricate lines. Their viols’ haunting, melancholy sound caresses and never wearies the ear. For the last two tracks they are joined by vocal group Red Byrd for the extraordinary glimpse of London life provided by The Cries of London. Janet Banks