Friday 9 December 2016

Catches, rounds & ground bass from Pellingman's Saraband

Pellingman's Saraband
Thomas Robinson, John Johnson, Thomas Ravenscroft, Robert Smith, Nicholas Lanier; Susanna Pell, Jacob Heringman, Faye Newton, Edd Ingham, Giles Lewin, Christopher O'Gorman, John Potter; Pellingman's Saraband
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Nov 26 2016
Star rating: 4.0

Catches, rounds and music on a ground bass in an engaging programme

The intriguingly named Pellingman's Saraband is the husband and wife duo of Jacob Heringman (lute) and Susanna Pell (viols). On this disc, Twenty waies upon the bels, they are joined by Faye Newton (soprano), Edd Igham (tenor), Giles Lewis (baritone), Chrisopher O'Gorman (tenor) and John Potter (tenor) for a programme of English rounds and grounds from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The programme explores what Jacob Heringman in his booklet note calls 'circular music' so with have divisions on a ground for lute and viol, songs over a ground bass with lute (and viol) and rounds and catches from those collected and composed by Thomas Ravenscroft.

Susanna Pell, Jacob Heringman - photo Gull Wing Photography
Susanna Pell, Jacob Heringman - photo Gull Wing Photography
There is something profoundly satisfying about the circularity of this music, and something timeless too, whether it be the multiple parts fitting together in the catches and rounds, or the sense of improvisation over a ground bass in the other items. Three types of piece are interspersed together making an appealing mix on the disc.

We get some lovely virtuosity from Jacob Heringman and Susanna Pell in the instrumental items, which complements the finely elegant singing of Faye Newton in the lute songs (some with viol too). Newton has an Emma Kirkby-like elegance of line and a nice sympathy for the worlds, making a fine combination. Then the rounds and catches, sung mainly by the men, are far more robust fare.

The music varies from the known to the unknown. Encountering the early version of Three Blind Mice in Thomas Ravenscroft's version is a delight but so is his A round of three country dances in one. Whilst Faye Newton is poignant in Death, rock me to sleep (apocryphally associated with Anne Boleyn), or Thomas Wyatt's poem Blame not my lute set to a traditional tune.

The name Pellingman's Sarabande (a conflation of Jacob Heringman and Susanna Pell's surnames) comes originally from a work by Andrew Keeling written for the couple's marriage in 1999 and subsequently adopted as the name of their duo. Their performances, individually and severally, cover a wide range from major collaborations in the early music movement to the sound tracks of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Hobbit, to work  with Joni Mitchell and with Kate Bush.

This is one of those discs which wears its learning lightly. The performers really draw you in making a highly appealing programme.

Thomas Robinson (fl. 1589-1609) - Twenty Waies upon the Bels
Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)/traditional - Blame not my lute
Filipo Azzailolo(fl. 1557-1569), John Johnson (fl. 1579-1594) - Chi passa
Thomas Ravenscroft (1592-1635) - Come follow me
Anon (late 16th century) - Remember me, my dear
Anon (c.1600) - The Scottish Huntsupe
Thomas Ravenscroft - Three blind mice
Thomas Ravenscroft -  Hey downe downe
John Johnson - A Dump
John Johnson - Trenchmore
Thomas Ravenscroft - Tomorrow the Fox will come to town
Robert Smith (c.1648-1675) - A Division
Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) - No more hall meads be deck'd with flow'rs
Anon (c.1600) - Bonny sweet Robin
Anon (c.1600) - O Deathe, rock me a sleepe
Thomas Ravenscroft - New Oysters
Thomas Ravenscroft - A Round of Three Country Dances in One
Anon (mid 16th century) - Dump Philli
Thomas Campion (1567-1620) - Fain would I wed a fair young man
Anon (c1659) - Greensleeves
Thomas Ravenscroft - Loath to Depart
Thomas Ravenscroft - Derrie ding, ding Dasson
Pellingman's Saraband (Susanna Pell - viols, Jacob Heringman - lutes)
Faye Newton (soprano)
Edd Igham (tenor)
Giles Lewis (baritone)
Chrisopher O'Gorman (tenor)
John Potter (tenor)
PS002 1CD
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