To welcome the spring, British ensemble I Fagiolini puts aside its beloved Monteverdi to uncover its own national heritage: the best of John Wilbye's classic Golden Age madrigals.
Whilst his oeuvre may have been small (just 75 works that we know of and most just a couple of minutes long), time and again, in these exquisite cameos, Wilbye delivers what might be reckoned the ultimate madrigal experience.
The plangent dissonance of ‘Draw on, sweet night’ and ‘Weep, weep, mine eyes’ perfectly evoke English melancholy, while ‘Sweet honey-sucking bees’ and ‘Adieu, sweet Amaryllis’ are such sheer pleasure to sing that many listeners will scrabble to unearth old scores. This album is, in a nutshell, 75 minutes of madrigalian bliss!
Rediscover or enjoy anew this central part of English choral culture, strangely out of fashion for so long, sung by a group that has matured into the repertoire like a good wine.
'Sophisticated madrigals - vocal lines emerging with emotional intelligence and impressive control. It's very classy entertainment.' BBC Radio 3 Record Review
1. Draw on, sweet night
2. Weep, O mine eyes
3. Adieu, sweet Amaryllis
4. Sweet honey-sucking bees / Yet, sweet, take heed
5. Thou art but young
6. Cruel, behold my heavy ending
7. I live, and yet methinks / There is a jewel
8. I love, alas! yet am not loved
9. Oft have I vowed
10. Down in a valley / Hard destinies
11. When shall my wretched life
12. O what shall I do?
13. Love not me for comely grace
14. Happy, O happy he
15. There where I saw
16. Lady, your words do spite me
17. O wretched man
18. Ye restless thoughts
19. Lady, when I behold
20. Thus saith my Cloris bright
21. Weep, weep, mine eyes
22. Flora gave me fairest flowers
23. All pleasure is of this condition
24. Of joys and pleasing pains / My throat is sore
25. Where most my thoughts / Despiteful thus
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