An Emerald in a Work of Gold: Music from the Dow Partbooks

For their second Delphian recording, The Marian Consort have leafed through the beautifully calligraphed pages of the partbooks compiled in Oxford between 1581 and 1588 by the Elizabethan scholar Robert Dow. Sumptuous motets, melancholy consort songs and intricate, harmonically daring viol fantasies are seamlessly interwoven – all brought to life by seven voices and the robust plangency of the Rose Consort of Viols in the chapel of All Souls College, Oxford, where Dow himself was once a Fellow.

"It's a well-designed programme in which the two groups alternate, only partly combining when the viols accompany a vocal soloist....The Marian Consort's contributions are cleanly and calmly delivered, though offering less scope for variety than the instrumental numbers"

"Forty years after the creation of the Tallis Scholars, bright young things from Oxford still form small-scale vocal groups devoted to Renaissance polyphony. The Marian Consort is one of the finest...the ensemble sings with eloquence and expressive finesse"

"McCleery elicits performances that glow with golden purity and soul."

"This disc restores the music to the chapel of All Souls, Oxford, where he worked, a sonorous but clear acoustic that warms the viol pieces and allows the voices of the Marian Consort to bloom. The two sopranos are very different, one with ample vibrato, one very straight, but each is suited to [the repertoire]...A beautiful picture of one man's enthusiasms."

"delivered with duly unornamented clarity"

"Performances are uniformly excellent, the Marian Consort’s rich, sweet timbre, immaculate tuning and clear diction…complemented by the Rose Consort’s own gloriously rich yet transparent sound…Mention too should be made of the sympathetic, detailed and quite intimate recording itself, made in the chapel of All Saint’s College, Oxford – sympathetic, detailed and intimate"

"this fine album breathes fresh, twenty-first century life into his dedicated work"

"an unalloyed joy...from start to finish"


Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): Chapel of All Souls College, Oxford
Recording dates: 10-13 January 2012
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 21
Total playing time: 1:12:49
Release date: 3 December 2012
Album ID: DCD34115

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