First complete recording of the consort verse anthems of Orlando Gibbons - some of the greatest English sacred music ever written.

The Orlando Gibbons Project 2016

The first complete recording of the consort verse anthems of

Orlando Gibbons. 

NB: This is a charitable cause, since all donations are being paid to HMSC Ltd (His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts), a registered UK charity (no.1114376) and one of the participating ensembles in this project. If you are a UK taxpayer, please tell us if your donation can be Gift Aided. Thank you!

In November 2016, the internationally renowned viol consort Fretwork, this year celebrating its 30th anniversary

has organised an exciting project to restore the consort verse anthems of Orlando Gibbons to their rightful place, amongst the greatest creations of English sacred music. They will be recorded for the first time in their entirety, sung not by a choir but  by a select consort of the UK's leading specialist singers under the banner of Magdalena Consort (director Peter Harvey)

and accompanied both by Fretwork and by our collaborating ensemble His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts (registered UK charity no. 1114376). 

Included are several pieces long recognised as masterpieces, such as This is the record of John and Behold, thou hast made my days. Their performance today still conjures up for many the familiar sonority of Anglican choir and organ and a performance style that is arguably still rooted in 19th century choral tradition. One thing we can be sure about is that they must have sounded very different to the audience of Gibbons’ time. 

The very form of the verse anthem, a highly effective fusion of rhetorical declamation and communal response, was conceived in the heat of the English Reformation and we want to recapture something of its original urgency. With the richly contrasting colours of both viols and cornetts and sackbutts, and with the incisive clarity of several of the UK’s leading specialist singers, we aim to reveal the extraordinary poetic power of Gibbons’ great music, as it might have been heard in the Chapel Royal and the private domestic chapels of early 17th century England.