ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Nutmeg & Ginger
WORKS: Works by Wigthorpe, Haussmann, Farnaby, Brade, Dowland,
PERFORMER: Musicians of the Globe/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: 456 507-2
The cross-fertilisation of popular and art music in 16th- and 17th-century England generated a rich diversity of musical delights. Transmitted through broadside ballads (printed mainly in London), popularised art songs, overtly popular songs set to simple dance tunes, instrumental pieces and music well-known in instrumental and broadside ballad formats were widely disseminated throughout the land. On this new release, Philip Pickett and the Musicians of the Globe present a vivid portrayal of this repertoire and its time.
Tautly sprung rhythms give added piquancy to the ensemble contributions, among which the vigorous dance version of ‘Nancie’, Brade’s ‘Dulcina’, Wigthorpe’s ‘Come hither’ and Sellinger’s ‘Round’ are among the highlights. Elsewhere, the sets of variations on ‘Greensleeves’ and ‘Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home’ (both for two lutes), and ‘Loath to depart’ and ‘Packington’s Pound’ (both for harpsichord), feature this group’s brilliant virtuosity.
Ultimately, though, it is the exceptional, ever aptly characterised singing from the four soloists that makes the greatest impact. Thus, ‘Watkins Ale’, ‘The London Prentice’ and ‘The Miller’ offer deliciously irresistible sexual allure, and ‘The Cutpurse’ and ‘Go, silly note’ provide colourful social commentary. Meanwhile, the poignantly expressive ‘How can the tree’ explores metaphysical themes and ‘Dido’ charmingly adapts Classical mythology. Highly recommended. Nicholas Rast