Music, When Soft Voices Die
Quink is the Netherlands’ premier solo vocal ensemble, founded in 1978, which has won a string of awards for its albums of motets, partsongs villancicos and more ranging over 500 years of music. Turning to the rich repertoire of late-19th and early-20th-century English and Irish music, Quink has made a complement to its previous recording of music by Vaughan Williams and Finzi, which received critical praise for its ‘technical elegance and fine spirit’ (BBC Music Magazine).
The madrigal found a home in Elizabethan England after its creation in mid-17th-century Italy with the works of Gibbons and many others, and survived longer there than in the rest of Europe, where it fell out of fashion in the 18th century. Nonetheless, the Victorian age saw a revival in what had become a neglected genre of consort work, and many glee clubs were formed to sing earlier work, as well as stimulating the composition of new ones such as are found here.
The title track is the last of Sir Charles Parry’s Six Modern Lyrics, but the previous five are little known and seldom recorded (the poem by Robert Bridges was also set by Britten’s teacher, Frank Bridge, and included here alongside one of several settings of Shakespeare, The Bee). The other extensive collection here is of E.J. Moeran’s Songs of Springtime, as buoyant and cheerful as their title suggests, yet curiously neglected. The selections of Vaughan Williams such as his Three Elizabethan Partsongs and Silence and Music are deservedly famous, and sung here with the elegance and freedom that comes more naturally to vocal consorts rather than chamber choirs however well-drilled.
This new recording by Dutch vocal ensemble Quink contains a delectable selection of English part songs, works by Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Bridge, Stanford, Moeran and Parry.
The music has that indelible English atmosphere of autumnal serenity and melancholy, evoking pastoral scenes of poignant beauty, where “time stands still”.
The booklet contains liner notes, biography and the complete sung texts.