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Cornysh: Latin Church Music / The Cardinall's Musick

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 15, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Few of Cornysh's works survive, so the selection here largely mirrors that on the Tallis Scholars' Cornysh record. Carwood and Skinner don't include the Stabat mater (which survives in its incomplete form and requires reconstruction), but they do include the only surviving Magnificats (both ca. 1500) by Edmund Turges and Henry Prentes. The Prentes, clearly modeled on Cornysh's setting (which it matches verse-for-verse in scoring), is a real find. Carwood's tempos are, as usual, slightly slower than Phillips's. On his other discs this seems like sluggishness, but here the rhythms and runs are all the more impressive for not skittering past quite so quickly. Carwood also refrains (unlike Phillips) from transposing the music up unnecessarily. None of this matters in the end, though--you should really have both discs. --Matthew Westphal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Magnificat
  2. Ave Maria, Mater Dei
  3. Magnificat
  4. Gaude Virgo, Mater Christi
  5. Magnificat (After Cornysh)
  6. Salve Regina


Product Details

  • Performer: Andrew Carwood, David Skinner, Edmund Turges, Henry Prentes
  • Composer: William Cornysh
  • Audio CD (July 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ASV
  • ASIN: B0000030P7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,401 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Discophage TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Who wrote the music of Willliam Cornysh? Easy: William Cornysh. But now wait: which one?

William Cornysh (1465-1523) was a Renaissance polymath, poet, dramatist (although only one poem of his remains, and no plays), actor and composer. From 1509 to his death (that was the reign of Henry VIII) he was Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal, one of the most prestigious positions at Court, and as such responsible for the musical and dramatic entertainments during big diplomatic events, such as the meeting of the Field of the Golden Fleece between Henry VIII and Francis I King of France in 1520.

Much of the Latin sacred choral music written by English composers up to circa 1530 was destroyed during the upheavals of the English Reformation triggered by Henry VIII. The very few compositions of sacred choral music by Cornysh that survived - five of them, the most substantial being the Salve Regina, Stabat Mater and Magnificat - were passed on to us thanks to the miraculous preservation (albeit not complete) of the Eton Choirbook, a richly illuminated manuscript collection kept at Eton College, and another similar collection, the Caius Choirbook.

Now, here lies the rub. As you and I, Cornysh had a father (died in 1520). But to make things a bit more complicated than that, William's daddy was also a William... and a composer. David Skinner, who prepared the editions for this recording and wrote the liner notes, makes a case for the compositions contained in the Eton and Caius collections to be by William Sr. The anonymous author of Cornysh's enty on the famous people's processed encyclopaedia disputes that attribution however, with arguments that seem equally convincing.

Not that any of this matters.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
extravagant beauty and control of this fine choir, and unusual material from pre-reformation Tudor period.
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