Saturday, 25 June 2016
Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal - The Gents
Very good but slightly marred
This is an interesting and rewarding disc of music by Tudor and Jacobean composers. Some is well-known, some much more obscure and it makes a fascinating and enjoyable programme. Composers like Tallis, Parsons, White and others here have been well-represented in the catalogue for some time now, but the choral music of the Ferraboscos (father and son) was new to me and I am glad to have it - it is quite dark, complex and beautiful.
The performances are generally very good - technically sound with a good blend and solid intonation. The solo songs by the countertenors are excellent, and the viol consort Diapente (who accompany some works and have three instrumental works of their own) are also very good. I have to say that The Gents is not a very well-chosen name for a serious choir, but they transcend this well. An all-male outfit, they sing at the traditionally low pitch of the Low Countries which makes the sound very rich, accentuated by a very resonant acoustic and what sounds to me like quite distant microphone placement. This makes for an attractive but quite blurred sound and at times I missed the clarity of line which groups like The Tallis Scholars and The Cardinall's Musick do so well, and at times this did interfere with my enjoyment of the music. For example, Tallis's exquisite Miserere nostri got a little lost in the fog for me.
Despite my reservations, this is still an enjoyable disc of very lovely music and I can recommend it.