Madrigals and Partsongs (Oxford Choral Classics)

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9780193436947: Madrigals and Partsongs (Oxford Choral Classics)
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This collection gathers together nearly sixty of the finest examples of the secular choral repertoire into one volume. Due space is given to the magnificent sixteenth century madrigals of England and Italy, with favorite works by Gibbons and Morley placed alongside less familiar selections by Lassus, Marenzio, and Weelkes. German and French pieces are also represented, for example, with Passereau's ever-popular Il est bel est bon. Works by Haydn and Schubert lead to the nineteenth century repertoire, which includes Brahms's lovely Nachtwache, from Five Songs, Op. 104, and Pearsall's exquisite Lay a Garland. The survey is completed by Debussy's Trois Chansons de Charles D'Orleans and examples of the glorious outpouring of English Romantic partsongs, with works by Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Britten, Finzi, and Vaughan Williams. Ranging from the late fifteenth to the twentieth century, and spanning all major European countries, this is a masterly survey suitable for all choirs. Clifford Bartlett has prepared completely new editions of all pre-twentieth century pieces, going back to the earliest and most reliable manuscript or printed sources. English translations are provided to aid understanding, with playable keyboard reductions in every case.

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Review:

'An attractive feature of Bartlett's editing here is the discreet inclusion of translations in small, italicised text underneath the piano reduction - a much neater solution than the usual rummage round to the index, and more immediate for the performers . . . One of the best features of the
volume is the considerable, informative commentary at the back, with detailed historical and editorial comment on each item - Bartlett's polymath skills really come into their own here. The score-setting is a model of clarity throughout. Overall, while clearly not intended to break any particularly
fresh ground, the volume should have a ready market, particularly among the many mixed-voice, small- to medium-sized chamber choirs for whom this repertoire is staple fare.' Matthew Greenall, The Singer April 2002

'For me, opening the attractively-produced volume and running my finger down the list of contents was rather like renewing acquaintance with numerous old friends . . . Selecting the 59 pieces for inclusion in this volume can't have been easy, but Bartlett is to be applauded on the catholicity
of his choice and on the informative commentary in which the scholarship is worn lightly. The inclusion of literal English translations (a welcome feature of an increasing number of modern editions) will assist singers when preparing the foreign-language pieces for performance as will the carefully
prepared keyboard reductions. All in all, this volume can be recommended unhesitatingly to choirs large and small with singers experienced or less so - it is incredibly good value for money.' Christopher Field, Music Teacher, Sept 2002

'There is an excellent commentary on each of the 59 compositions which reads like a history of choral development and any group of singers contemplating programme planning would be well advised to read this through. It is both erudite and informative in such a lucid and helpful way that any
criticism of elitism or academic stuffiness would be quite out of place and would entirely miss the point of encouraging us to bring about thoughtful and expert performances. Indeed, the whole book is beautifully set out, easy to read and in the unaccompanied pieces, a keyboard reduction is a
further aid to learning . . . Here I must mention that there are no daft translations into execrable English but merely the original text with an unobtrusive literal message of its content. Thus one hears the full force of the beauty of the foreign tongue with its individual sound, shape and
emphasis which adds so much colour and vitality in performance . . . cont

cont . . . 'There is enough material in the 384-page book to make up a dozen delightful and fulfilling programmes and, if the reader needed further proof of this, surely I need only mention that Elgar, Dowland, Lassus, Delius, Gibbons, Monteverdi, Finzi - even Haydn and Schubert are all well
represented. Madrigals and Partsongs is a masterly addition to the choral repertoire and I sincerely hope that OUP will initiate a follow up.' Grayston Burgess, Choir and Organ, May/June 2002

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