Music for Henry V and the House of Lancaster – The Binchois Consort/ Andrew Kirkman – Hyperion

by | Nov 12, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews

Music for Henry V and the House of Lancaster – The Binchois Consort/ Andrew Kirkman – Hyperion 67868, 72:47 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:
We are here offered a tour of the musical dynasties of Henry V and Henry VI through the graces of the Wollaton Antiphonal, a collection of medieval manuscripts that are properly the property of the St. Leonard parish, but kept in the family library of Wollaton Hall from the mid-sixteenth century until 1924. It is miraculous that it did indeed escape the ravages of the Reformation. The book itself is an elaborate service manual (illuminated of course—aren’t they all?) most likely East Anglian in origin, for Sir Thomas Chatsworth, a nobleman in the East Midlands who had connections to the Plantagenet-Lancasters, and who had even fought with Henry V at Agincourt. Because of this Lancaster connection he was consequently devoted to St. John of Bridlington, essentially the patron saint of the House of Lancaster and the last English saint to be canonized before the Reformation, and Henry himself was almost fanatically attached to the religious and nationalistic-cultural associations with him as well.
The music here gathered presents us with a very in-depth look at the services of the Lancastrian household chapels and the polyphony incipient in the brilliant and often wildly-variant music of the day that was most likely approved by Henrys V and VI, two kings almost diametrically opposite in temperament yet equally suited in terms of cultural impact. The main attraction is the Bridlington Mass setting based on one of the melodies from the Wollaton Antiphonal, and infused with motets and chants among the mass movements. Space does not permit a further exploration of the many aspects of this recording, amply covered in Hyperion’s booklet notes. But the performances by the now 16-year-old award-winning Binchois Consort are completely faultless, captured in superb stereo sound.
TrackList:
Anonymous: The Office for St John of Bridlington; Asperges me, Domine; Missa Quem malignus spiritus; Ave regina caelorum; Gloriosae virginis; Ite missa est – Agimus tibi gratias; Tota pulchra es; Cooke, John: Alma proles; Thomas Damett: Salvatoris mater / O Georgi Deo care; Henry V ; Leonel Power: Ave regina cælorum; Gloriose virginis; Nicholas Sturgeon: Salve mater Domini / Salve templum Domini
— Steven Ritter