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Peter PHILIPS (1560/1-1628) Fantasia in F major (1582) [7.31]
Amarilli, mia bella (1603) (after Giulio CACCINI, 1551-1618) [4.03]
Chi far fed' al cielo (II) (after Alessandro STRIGGIO, c.1540-1592) [6.35]
Pavan in G major (1580) [3.27]
Deggio dun que partire (after Luca MARENZIO, 1553-1599) [3.54]
Io partirò (after Luca MARENZIO) [3.07]
Ma voi, caro ben mio (after Luca MARENZIO) [3.28]
Paget Pavan and [7.18]
Galliard in C minor [2.39]
Bonjour mon creur (1602) (after Orlande de LASSUS, c.1532-1594) [4.39]
Le Rossignuol (1595) (after Orlande de LASSUS) [5.10]
Margot, labourez [2.47]
les vignes (after Orlande de LASSUS) (1605)
Fantasia in D minor [3.47]
Fece da voi partita [4.18]
Passamezzo Pavan and 9.33]
Galliard in G minor [5.37]
Elizabeth Farr (harpsichord, 1658 by Jerome de Zentis, Rome, restored by Keith Hill).
rec. Ploger Hall, Manchester, Michigan, USA, 13 August 2005.
NAXOS 8.557864 [78.04] 

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Comparison recordings of music by Philips:

Rafael Puyana, harpsichord. Mercury Living Presence [ADD] 434 364-2

Colin Tilney, harpsichord. Argo LP ZRG 675 [OP]

Paul Nicholson, harpsichord. Hyperion CDA 66734 

Peter Philips was born to a catholic family in Protestant England and went to Rome at the age of 22 to study Italian music. He entered the service of Lord Thomas Paget three years later. He traveled extensively, eventually marrying and had settled in Belgium by 1591. Some years after his wife and child had died, he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1609. Nineteen of his surviving 32 works are in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, others in Musica Britannica. Seven of the works on this disk are intabulazione, or floridly figured keyboard arrangements of vocal music by Italian composers. All Philips’ music is characterized by a deeply mystical, reflective, introspective mood, and the sound of this recording is perfectly suited to this, recording the harpsichord - a single 8 foot register with a very sweet and resonant tone - very close as though the listener were the one playing. Elizabeth Farr’s performances are excellent, that is to say, she plays these pieces pretty much as I would play them.* The temperament is equal or very close to it, and the overall sound is richly sensual.

Philips’ most popular piece is the Pavan and Galiarda Dolorosa from the Fitzwilliam Book which has been recorded by Rafael Puyana and Colin Tilney among others. Their performances are a little more dramatic and extroverted than Elizabeth Farr’s, or would be if she included that piece on this disc, which she doesn’t; so all this music will be new to most collectors. The style of Philips’ original works is typical of the polymodalism of other Elizabethan keyboard composers, and in his writing out the embellishments his works form valuable records of performance practices of the period. 

Colin Tilney’s anthology recording on Argo** utilized a bell-like instrument with a deliciously unequal temperament and Tilney’s temperament is, like most of the men, a little more extroverted than Farr. Paul Nicholson on Hyperion plays a somewhat different program, including the famous Pavan, and is also a well played, good sounding disk. Overall though I prefer this Elizabeth Farr disc for the pieces she plays.

Paul Shoemaker

 see also Review by Glyn Pursglove

*except she gets all the notes right.

**Tilney has made many recordings and I have not been able to determine if the anthology with the same program available for a time on Musica Viva is actually the same recording as this Argo disk.


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