Songs and Dances of the Renaissance &
Minstrelsy - Nancy Froseth,
David Hays, Carole Hofstad-Lee, David Livingston, Phillip
Lyrichord LEMS 8018
This disc can be purchased from the importer:
Silver Service CDs, 14 Balmoral Avenue, Shepshed, Loughborough, Leicestershire,
Tel +44(0) 1509 829301 Fax +44(0) 1509 829302
Here's a very entertaining collection of instrumental and vocal music, largely
from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but also including
a couple of excursions into eighteenth century baroque.
Minstrelsy is a Twin Cities-based ensemble founded in 1989 and this CD was
recorded in 1993, although it would appear to be recently released in the
The playing is certainly expert throughout, from baroque violin, lute, viola
da gamba and recorders. The instrumental numbers, in particular, taken from
the Taffel-Consort collection (1621) are full of interest as are the suites
and dances from composers as diverse as William Lawes, Michael Praetorius
and Johann Pachelbel. Lively, stylish playing in a very natural acoustic
and consistently perfect in intonation, this programme cannot fail to please
the general music lover who is not so interested in complete works from one
particular composer, but more in being entertained by a concert-type experience.
The songs are well chosen with Dowland's 'Time stands still' proving
to be particularly affecting. Soprano Carole Hofstad-Lee has a clear bright
voice which lacks, perhaps, the last word in individuality. 'I saw my
lady weep' really needs the male tenor voice and a comparison with the
artistry of Nigel Rogers (with Paul O'Dette) does rather prove the point.
Highlights include Thomas Arne's 'Under the greenwood tree' where
the words 'winter and rough weather' are accompanied by very clever recorder
playing expressing the cold weather, and 'When she cam ben, she bobbit'
a Scottish folk tune which clearly demonstrates how close Irish Celtic music
was to its Scottish equivalent at the time. The 'naughty' slides from the
recorder sound altogether contemporary as can be heard today played by bands
such as The Chieftains' or as incorporated in the dance music composed for
the film 'Titanic'.
Very enjoyable - just a shame that there are less than fifty minutes of music