English Romantic Madrigals

English Romantic Madrigals



The Romantic madrigal in England was not just a part-song, but a work that alluded both musically and textually to the genre's Elizabethan golden age. The genre has fallen out of fashion a bit; even Gilbert and Sullivan poked fun at it in the "Sing a merry madrigal" number in "The Mikado." But the roots of its revival (as with so many other new-simplicity Romantic genres) go back into the 18th century, and this release by the Choir of Royal Holloway is of interest as a kind of "early music" that has not received much attention. The pieces by Henry Leslie and John Stainer here are world recording premieres, but perhaps the most interesting contributions are those by Robert Lucas Pearsall, which open the album. Sample one of these, and you're sure to enjoy it. They're closely modeled on the Renaissance madrigal, but add contemporary harmonic touches. Choir director Rupert Gough hews to time-honored traditions in performing these works, and the selection of pieces, running up to Elgar, Parry, and Stanford, gives a satisfying overview of a largely forgotten genre. Recommended if you're into merry madrigals.

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