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Reviewed by:
  • Preces, Festal Psalms, and Verse Anthems, and: Musica Sacra (1608), and: Sacred Hymnes of 3, 4, 5 and 6 Parts (1615), and: Anthems IV: Anthems with Instruments
  • Lionel Pike
William Smith. Preces, Festal Psalms, and Verse Anthems. Edited by John Cannell. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, Inc., c2003. (Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance, 135.) [Abbrevs. and sigla, p. vi; acknowledgments, p. vii; introd., p. ix–xvi; texts, p. xvii; 5 plates; score, 124 p.; crit. report, p. 125–35; appendix, p. 137-40. ISBN 0-89579-525-6. $80.]
Giovanni Croce. Musica sacra (1608). Transcribed and edited by John Morehen. London: Stainer & Bell, c2000. (The English Madrigalists, 41.) [Introd., p. iv–vii; notes on performance, p. vii; editorial notes, p. ix–x; texts, p. xi–xiv; facsims., p. xv–xvi; score, p.1–86; crit. commentary, p.87–90. ISMN M-2202-2045-6; ISBN 0-85249-873-X; pub. no. EM41. £40.]
John Amner. Sacred Hymnes of 3, 4, 5 and 6 Parts (1615). Transcribed and edited by John Morehen. London: Stainer & Bell, c2000. (The English Madrigalists, 40.) [Introd., p. v–viii; notes on performance, p. ix; editorial notes, p. x–xi; texts, p. xii–xvi; facsims., p. xvii–xx; score, p. 1–136; crit. commentary, p. 138–44. ISMN M-2202-1932-0; ISBN 0-85249-863-2; pub. no. EM40. £40.]
John Blow. Anthems IV: Anthems with Instruments. Transcribed and edited by Bruce Wood. London: Stainer & Bell, 2002. (Musica Britannica, 79.) [Pref. in Eng., Fr., Ger., p. xvii–xix; introd., p. xxi–xxx; notes on performance, p. xxxi–xxxviii; editorial notes, p. xxxix; acknowledgments, p. xl; facsims., p. xli–xlv; score, p. 1–198; appendix, p. 199–200; list of sources, p. 203–5; crit commentary, p. 206–16. Cloth. ISMN M-2202-2034-0; ISBN 0-85249-871-3; pub. no. MB79. £83.50.]

The four volumes reviewed here present a treasure trove of religious music to English texts, in a wide variety of musical styles, all of it dating from the seventeenth century. John Cannell has produced an exemplary edition of five festal psalms for use on the major feasts of the church year (along with an edition of the preces that precede them) and seven verse anthems by the Durham composer William Smith (1603–1645), a man well-known in cathedral music, but only on account of a modern edition of a set of preces and responses familiar to choir directors (Six Settings of Preces and Responses by Tudor Composers, ed. Ivor Atkins and Edmund H. Fellowes [London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; Oxford University Press, 1933]; subsequently published as Four Settings of the Preces and Responses by Tudor Composers: Together with the Preces and Responses by William Smith, arr. Richard Graves [London: Oxford University Press for the Church Music Society, 1959, etc.]; followed by many other editions, the latest being Settings of Preces and Responses by Byrd, Morley, Smith and Tomkins, ed. Watkins Shaw, Richard Marlow, Church Music Society Reprints, 48 [Oxford: Published for the Church Music Society by Oxford University Press, 1993])—music that caused Vaughan Williams to tell Boris Ord in 1955 that they were the loveliest things Ord performed at King's College Cambridge (Ursula Vaughan Williams, R. V. W.: A Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams [London: Oxford [End Page 1052] University Press, 1964], 368). Many listeners must have wondered if the excellent music of this set was just the tip of an iceberg —and Cannell has provided an answer. He gives full background information on the composer's life and the sources (manuscripts from Durham Cathedral's Chapter Library and the Peterhouse Chapel in Cambridge), interpretation, and liturgical fitness of the music. Cannell's view of the pieces is balanced, and his editorial reconstructions and additions, necessary because none of the extant sets of partbooks remain complete, are excellent. The edition is beautifully printed throughout, although there is an odd gap at the end of m. 16 on page 108.

There is much to admire in this music, although Smith rather often shows his lack of technical control by writing consecutive fifths and octaves (in mm. 96–97 of My Heart is Set there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-150X
Print ISSN
0027-4380
Pages
pp. 1052-1054
Launched on MUSE
2006-05-22
Open Access
No
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