John Rutter: Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers: English Madrigals (Vinyl LP)
John Rutter's Cambridge Singers bring consistent unanimity of ensemble and a natural expressive feeling to this very attractive program of madrigals. Perhaps the first group, devoted to love and marriage, may be thought rather too consistently mellifluous; but the second, 'Madrigals of times and season', is nicely contrasted, with the clean articulation of Morley's Now is the month of Maying made the more telling by the lightness of the vocal production. John Wilbye's lovely Draw on sweet night, which follows, makes a perfect contrast. After two items about 'Fairies, spirits and conceits', the concert closes in a mood of moving Elizabethan melancholy with a group devoted to mourning and farewell. Superb recording in a most flattering acoustic makes this collection the more enjoyable, though one to be dipped into rather than heard all at once.
Thomas Weelkes: Hark All Ye Lovely Saints Above, William Byrd: Though Amaryllis Dance in Green, John Bennet: Round About in a Fair Ring, Thomas Tomkins: Adieu Ye City-Prisoning Towers, Thomas Wilbye: Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers, Thomas Vautor: Sweet Suffolk Owl, Thomas Weelkes: As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending, William Byrd: Lullaby, William Byrd: This Sweet and Merry Month of May, Thomas Morley: Now Is the Month of Maying, John Farmer: A Little Pretty Bonny Lass, Thomas Morely: Fyer Fyer!, Thomas Tomkins: Too Much I Once Lamented, Thomas Morley: My Bonny Lass She Smileth, Thomas Weelkes: Ha Ha! This World Doth Pass, Michael East: Quick Quick Away Dispatch, Orlando Gibbons: Dainty Fine Bird, John Dowland: Come Again! Sweet Love Doth Now Invite, Thomas Vautor: Mother I Will Have a Husband, Thomas Wilbye: Draw on Sweet Night, Robert Ramsey: Sleep Fleshly Birth, Thomas Wilbye: Weep Weep Mine Eyes, Thomas Weelkes: Death Hath Deprived Me, Orlando Gibbons: The Silver Swan, Thomas Wilbye: Adieu Sweet Amaryllis