In Nomine II | Signum SIGCD576

In Nomine II


In stock - available for despatch within 1 working day

Label: Signum

Cat No: SIGCD576

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 1st November 2019



Over thirty years ago, Fretwork made its first recording - technically speaking it was the second album to be recorded but the first to be released - and it was called ‘In Nomine’, which consisted mainly of 16th-century examples of this remarkable instrumental form.

While this isn’t an anniversary of that release, Fretwork wanted to look both back to that first release and forward, to bring the genre up to date. There were several examples of the In nomine and related forms that they didn’t or couldn’t record in 1987 and this album seeks to complete the project.

The form was created unwittingly by John Taverner (1490-1545). His 6-part mass, Gloria tibi Trinitas, is based on the plainchant of that name. In the Sanctus, at the words Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini (blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord), the six-part texture is pared down to two and three parts; and then, with the words in nomine Domini, Taverner makes, for the only time in the mass, a complete statement of the cantus firmus, accompanied by three voices. This four-parts section - very beautiful as it is - must have struck contemporaries as some kind of perfection, to be used as a template, to be emulated and copied. And then those copies were copied and changed again.

Typically, an In nomine would have the alto, or second part, playing this cantus firmus in long slow notes of equal length. The other parts would weave counterpoint around it, sometimes commenting upon it, sometimes ignoring it. Typically, the cantus firmus starts and ends on the note D - but there are many exceptions to all these ‘rules’.


Nico Muhly’s Slow opens the disc with lightning incision. Where’s the In nomine, you may ask, in this surging sound of neurons, this relentless electric train of the human body? But then acclimatisation occurs, and individual sparks of moto perpetuo give way to a tempo undetermined by how fast bows are travelling. ... The disc, however, is best when at home in 16th-century England. The In nomine in 11/4 by John Bull is truly wonderful. The group make an intoxicating, luxurious sound which, combined with Bull’s unusual time signature and metric devices, creates an unceasing sense of motion that invades listeners’ ears and seems to usurp their very flow of blood. ... This is Fretwork at their finest: historical sympathy and innovation in bounds, a fearless endeavour to plough through the 21st century in all its noise and ugliness with these old and fragile instruments that continue to have so much to say.  Mark Seow
Gramophone January 2020
Gramophone Editor's Choice

Error on this page? Let us know here

Need more information on this product? Click here