With a career as Attorney in the Exchequer in the service of Sir Henry Fanshawe, John Ward’s profession was only incidentally (or at least not primarily) that of a musician. From all accounts Fanshawe himself had musical enthusiasms and his household apparently included ‘many gentlemen that were perfectly well qualified both in that [music] and in the Italian tongue’. In contrast to the Italian madrigal, which prompted and continued to inspire the English cultivation of the form, the English madrigal generally sets uncomplicated and unpretentious poetry. Following the familiar indication on the title-page ‘apt both for Viols and Voyces’, a number of pieces are presented with viols replacing vocal parts. The collection ranges from three-part Madrigals which are light and frivolous, to six-part ones that are profound and on a grand scale.
This important reissue, reappearing internationally on CD for the first time, includes complete texts, the original sleeve notes as well as a new introduction by Anthony Rooley.
The First Set of English Madrigals to 3, 4, 5 & 6 parts
Consort of Musicke
Recording Producer: Morten Winding
Balance Engineers: Martin Haskell, Arthur Lilley
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, May 1980
‘We are fortunate to benefit once again from the professionalism, scholarship and musicianship of these persuasive advocates of an intriguing though largely forgotten master of the “Golden Age” of the English madrigal’ Gramophone