2 Dec 2020

Cambridge Introductions to Music: Renaissance Polyphony

Cambridge Introductions to Music: Renaissance Polyphony
Fabrice Fitch

The Cambridge Introductions to Music have quickly established themselves as a bridge for undergraduates seeking a deeper dive into essential topics. This is the eighth of nine titles on their website, and of the three I have read (the others being Gregorian Chant by David Hiley and The Sonata by Thomas Thomas Schmidt-Beste) I find the format superb: well targeted, generously detailed and unapologetically demanding. As the collection grows, I hope it will also carve out a niche with music-literate audiences. In this latest addition, Renaissance Polyphony, Fabrice Fitch offers a tightly focused overview with only occasional diversions into other forms of Renaissance music and ‘new cultural history.’ [...] The result is the sort of book we all really needed when we were undergraduates, a genuinely interesting but calm ordering of essential topics that will spark interest in Renaissance Polyphony at each turn. In fact, Renaissance music studies is now a richly represented field and Fitch’s powerful short volume will offer something unique alongside the Cambridge histories of fifteenth and sixteenth century music as well as Richard Freedman’s Music in the Renaissance (Norton’s Western Music in Context series) to name a few.


To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Dec 2020)

1 Dec 2020

Sheppard: Media vita

Sheppard: Media vita
Choir of New College Oxford, Robert Quinney

There are many reasons why this this new release from the Choir of New College Oxford directed by Robert Quinney will not disappoint, and chief among them are four premiere recordings and a consistently radiant sound with confident, purposeful phrasing. [...]

Lastly, it is pleasing to hear John Sheppard’s monumental Media Vita sounding so rich and full with a memorable countertenor sound. Sad, perhaps, that in our current pandemic the text ‘in the midst of life we are in death’ should strike us so poignantly but thrilling to hear such young voices do justice to one of Sheppard’s finest works.

To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Dec 2020)