The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book Vol. 6 | Brilliant Classics 95458

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book Vol. 6

£8.96

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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 95458

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 3rd August 2018

Contents

About

Pieter-Jan Belder continues his superb survey of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, an extraordinary manuscript compiled in the late 16th century and held in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. In this, the sixth volume, Belder focuses on the compositions of John Bull, one of the main contributors to the collection. Principally an organist and organ-builder, Bull left behind a variety of attractive pieces whose charm is belied by the way he often presented himself as a Doctor in music, which might suggest a rather scientific approach to composition. Nonetheless, his Ut Re Mi Fa Sol La, one of the longest and most challenging pieces in the manuscript and reminiscent of Tallis, is appropriately complex, beginning with twopart writing and adding additional voices as it progresses, while employing numerous tempo changes and cross-rhythms.

In contrast to the prolific Bull, the remainder of the recording features a host of composers who appear only a few times in the manuscript. Other than Orlando Gibbons, one of the most important of all virginalists, the other contributors are less well known, and many have obscure or undocumented lives. The repetition of such forms as the pavan and alman across the set, however, allows the listener to make a number of interesting comparisons.

Pieter-Jan Belder is not only a consummate performer but also a serious scholar of keyboard music from the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. His research on the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book has led to a highly informed performance practice. Belder specialises in performance on historical instruments, and he has carefully selected three period harpsichords for this recording in order to create the most authentic sound possible. The listener is rewarded with a substantial set that highlights the superb achievements of the composers of this era, laying the foundations of keyboard music for centuries to come.

Harpsichords by Titus Crijnen & Adlam Burnett
Muselar by Gerhard Boogaard

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