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Album review: The Marian Consort, An Emerald in a Work of Gold (Delphian)


Accompanied by the Rose Consort of Viols, the Marian Consort here offer a selection of pieces from the Dow Partbooks, the arrangements for up to five voices or instruments collected by the 16th-century scholar Robert Dow, of compositions by such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.

The latter's setting of "O Lord, How Vain", Sir Philip Sidney's verses disdaining worldly pleasure, are delivered with duly unornamented clarity by solo soprano and four viols, while William Mundy's "Sive Vigilem" and Nathaniel Giles's "Vestigia Mea Dirige" tiptoe between unison homophony and euphoric polyphony. But the most ambitious works here are the settings by Robert White and Robert Parsons of lines from Psalm 119, respectively "Justus es, Domine" and "Retribue Servo Tuo".

Download: Justus Es, Domine; Retribue Servo Tuo; Sive Vigilem