The Rose Consort's recording each offer a carefully chosen programme representing a different aspect of the Consort’s wide-ranging repertory, often with voices, lute or organ. Some focus on the music of just one composer, or pieces from a specific musical source, while others bring together repertory by a variety of composers around a theme. Please click on the image for details of how to buy or download CDs.
400 years since the death of Thomas Weelkes, the Rose Consort and the Choir of Chichester Cathedral perform his music in the building where he was Organist and ‘informator choristarum’ (Master of the Choristers): pieces for both domestic and sacred performance, with anthems, pavans and In nomines for viols.
‘This is the real thing … for the Weelkes anniversary year this is a really good way of getting to know the range of his music.’
BBC Radio 3 Record Review
Motets and consort music by Catholic composers Peter Philips and his younger contemporary, Richard Dering, with the Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen and David J. Smith (harpsichord). Featuring music composed around 1600, when political and religious tensions in England spurred composers to extraordinary heights of musical invention.
• MusicWeb International Recording of the Month
‘With the Rose Consort listeners know that they will be hearing consummate performances.’
Early Music Review
Music from the Baldwin part-books, with the Marian Consort. John Baldwin’s manuscript anthology, copied in the 1580s, includes vocal and consort music by Taverner, Mundy, Sheppard and Byrd alongside works from overseas by Lassus and Ferrabosco, as well as a few of his own rather quirky compositions.
‘This is a lovely disc, the performances finely musical and completely absorbing.’
The earliest consort music for viols, performed on a set of viols after a Bolognese painting of 1497 by Lorenzo Costa. Here, with mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, we trace the first music for voice and viols, taken from the Bologna MS Q 18, King Henry VIII’s Songbook and music from the Spanish court of Catherine of Aragon’s family.
‘Clare Wilkinson’s soft voice is totally beguiling in this intimate repertoire: full of elegant contours and no sharp edges, perfect for weaving among the gentle viols.’ The Guardian
Using instruments by viol-maker Richard Jones based on a Venetian instrument by Francesco Linarol – one of the earliest viols to survive from the sixteenth century – we trace a varied musical journey from the viol’s Italian origins, via France and Germany, to England, where it found its eventual home.
• BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice ***** December 2014
‘Well-nigh flawless, these restrained, refined readings, informed by a deep understanding of the viol and its repertoire, evoke the finesse and grace of the celebrated Renaissance courts.’ BBC Music Magazine
Focusing on two eminent composers from the English Renaissance period, this recording with Clare Wilkinson includes motets and dance music by Peter Philips and sacred and secular works by William Byrd. Both composers were avowed Catholics, setting sacred texts in Latin, despite the scarce opportunities for them to be performed in Protestant England.
• Shortlisted for Gramophone Award 2015 in the Early Music Category
‘Sensitive and flawless performances, captured on the recording with great clarity.’ The Viol
The Elizabethan scholar Robert Dow compiled a beautifully calligraphed set of part-books between 1581 and 1588. Here is a selection of music from his collection, with pieces by Byrd, White, Strogers and Maillard in a collaboration with The Marian Consort, recorded in the chapel of All Souls College, Oxford, where Dow himself was once a Fellow.
‘The performances are uniformly excellent, complemented by the Rose Consort’s gloriously rich yet transparent sound.’ International Record Review
With Clare Wilkinson we explore the music of four important gentleman singers of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Chapels Royal: Tallis, Tye, Byrd and Tomkins who came respectively from the cathedrals of Canterbury, Ely, Lincoln and Worcester and created sacred music for the Chapel Royal as well as exceptional pieces for viols.
‘There are no better executants than Clare Wilkinson and the Rose Consort: such is their rapport with one another and their empathy with the music. one can gain further insights into this endlessly enthralling music.’ Early Music Review
Elizabethan plays, especially those performed by troupes of choirboys, were full of songs, some of which are performed here by Catherine King. We include consort songs by Byrd, Parsons, Farrant and Pattrick and In Nomines, fantasias and dances by Taverner, Tallis, Tye and their contemporaries.
‘The Rose Consort combine an entrancing ear for line and texture with great beauty of sound and suppleness of phrase, transporting us back to an era which gave a premium to grace, refinement and civilised discourse.’ CD Review
Better known for his madrigals, John Ward was also an accomplished composer of consort music. This recording includes fantasias and In Nomines for four, five and six viols, as well as his distinctive airs for two bass viols and organ. There are also some madrigals performed without their texts, since they were designed to be ‘apt for Viols as Voyces’.
‘The Rose Consort of Viols was created to play music like this, and the collective and individual virtuosity of the six performers on this disc are on full display.’
Alfonso Ferrabosco I brought continental musical ideas to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I; his son, Alfonso II, was Composer in Ordinary to Charles I. Both left a rich legacy of music for viols: dances, In Nomines, fantasias, as well as vocal music that is also highly effective performed by an instrumental consort.
‘The Rose Consort of Viols play the music of the Ferraboscos with such perfection and elegance that one feels directly transported back to the English Renaissance.’
The swansong of English consort music for viols. By the time the young Henry Purcell wrote this intensely satisfying body of pieces in 1680 interest in the viol consort was in decline: Charles II preferred his more modern violin band. But Purcell pays a heartfelt tribute to his predecessors in writing these beautifully crafted fantasias and rich In Nomines.
• Recommended recording in The Sunday Times
‘Elegant and dramatic, appealing as much to the heart as it does to the mind.’
The Sunday Times
Catherine King and Jacob Heringman join the Rose Consort to explore the riches of Dowland’s musical legacy. Pavans, galliards and almains complete the Consort’s recording of his 1604 Lachrimae collection, together with lute solos and ayres that range in mood from deep melancholy to the joys of pastoral love.
• Penguin Guide Key Recording ***
‘The Rose Consort, lively in the galliards, also show their sensitivity to Dowland’s doleful moods.’ Penguin Guide
Renowned in his lifetime as a keyboard player, Gibbons created a wealth of music in many different styles. Here, with Red Byrd, soprano Tessa Bonner and keyboard player Timothy Roberts, we present a selection of choice verse anthems, madrigals performed as solo songs with viols, pavans, galliards, fantasias and an In Nomine.
• BBC Radio 3 ‘Building a Library’ first choice
‘Beautifully performed and finely recorded, this selection of Gibbons’s music is especially attractive on account of the variety of the programme.’ Gramophone
The Rose Consort collaborate with Jacob Heringman and David Miller (lutes, theorboes) and Timothy Roberts (organ) to perform some of the most flamboyant music from seventeenth-century England: consort sets, Royal Consorts, lute duets and divisions by William Lawes, the cavalier composer who died fighting for King Charles I in the English Civil War.
‘With their beautifully shaped readings, at once introspective and passionate, the Rose Consort captures the darker side of Lawes perhaps better than any other ensemble.’
BBC Music Magazine
Red Byrd and Timothy Roberts (keyboards) join the Rose Consort in performing a varied choice of verse anthems, organ and harpsichord music, fantasias, In Nomine, pavans, and a galliard and almain. Tomkins, organist at Worcester Cathedral and at the Chapel Royal, relished the older traditions of English music-making, creating many masterpieces.
• Penguin Guide Key Recording and Rosette ****
‘This well-planned programme gives an admirable opportunity to sample the output of Thomas Tomkins, an outstandingly fine Elizabethan musician.’ Penguin Guide
Byrd was the most outstanding English composer in the later sixteenth century, writing music in virtually every style conceivable. Here we explore some of his verse anthems, solo consort songs, pavans, galliards, fantasias and In Nomines, with Red Byrd, Tessa Bonner (soprano) and Timothy Roberts (keyboards).
• Penguin Guide Key Recording ***
‘The Rose Consort and Red Byrd are sensitive and expert exponents of this repertoire.’ Penguin Guide
A favourite of viol players, John Jenkins’ music deserves to be more widely known. His long career saw him creating music for noble families sheltering from the Civil War as well as for professional court players. Tuneful and cleverly wrought consort fantasias, divisions for bass viols, dances and In Nomines are performed in collaboration with organist Timothy Roberts.
It is not often one has the chance to hear such a breadth of works by Jenkins played with so much skill, style and understanding. The expressive playing and overall light touch gave them an appropriate elegance and style.’ Early Music News
Annabella Tysall’s second recording with the Rose Consort focuses on Elizabethan songs concerned with amorous pursuits, often full of beautiful pastoral imagery. These are combined with dances by Holborne, fantasias by Gibbons and Byrd as well as a heartfelt elegy by Byrd for Sir Philip Sidney, the Arcadian poet.
‘It is unusual to find a voice of such accuracy, so naturally infused with the spirit of Elizabethan melancholy: her sound matched that of the consort perfectly.’ Early Music News
John Dowland’s ‘seaven Passionate Pavans’, a remarkable set of reworkings of his song ‘Flow my teares’ for five viols and lute, published in 1604, are here linked to seven of Dowland’s songs also on the theme of tears and weeping. Performed with alto Caroline Trevor and lutenist Jacob Heringman.
‘The most expressive and carefully thought-out performance of Lachrimae that I have ever heard; the Rose Consort play with an uncompromising clarity and discipline.’
Early Music News
Elizabethan music appropriate to Christmas, with seasonal songs by Ravenscroft, Byrd and Peerson, and instrumental fantasias by Coprario and Parsley, together with dances from the 1599 collection by Elizabethan courtier Antony Holborne, Simpson and Dowland. Soprano Annabella Tysall joins the Rose Consort.
‘The Rose Consort include some unjustly neglected pieces by Antony Holborne ... one never tires of masterpieces such as Byrd’s From Virgin’s womb’. Early Music
Verse anthems and consort songs for the season of Christmas, together with consort music by Byrd, Gibbons, Tomkins, Amner, Bull, Peerson and Holborne. Performed with vocal ensemble Red Byrd who use the colourful pronunciation of early modern English to bring these anthems to life.
‘Recording quality is out of the top drawer and the performances are very much in the same league: the instrumental work is quite impeccable.’ CD Review
About the Rose Consort of Viols
The Rose Consort of Viols takes its name from the celebrated family of viol makers, whose work spanned the growth and flowering of the English consort repertoire.