Linarol Consort

The Linarol Consort recording Feb. 2020

In mid February 2020, the Linarol Consort (David Hatcher, Alison Kinder, Claire Horacek & Asako Morikawa) recorded their first CD, of music from the circle of Maximilian I and Jacob Fugger “The Rich”. The consort was grateful to receive a grant from Angel Early Music alongside significant contributions from private sponsors.

Background to the project

The germination of this project began in 2011 when I came into possession of a facsimile reprint of a manuscript, once held in the Fugger family’s library, of German, Flemish and French consort pieces of the early 16th century. It is now held in the National Library of Austria in Vienna, shelf mark Vienna Ms. 18-810. The reprint, containing all five partbooks, is no longer available and the manuscript is not widely known even by exponents of music of this period. My new edition of all 86 pieces in the collection, the first complete edition, has now been published by Peacock Press.

The manuscript includes an unusually large number of unique pieces - 30 in all. 18 of the total are by Senfl (1486-1543), who was the most important composer of German song of the period. 14 pieces in the manuscript are texted, mostly in the tenor line alone, following a German predilection for an idiom now known as Tenorlied. We intend to record a second volume including these vocal pieces with tenor James Gilchrist in the near future.

The Recording

The recording took place over three days (Feb 11th - 13th) at Treowen House, a beautiful 17th century manor house near Monmouth, in eastern Wales. The house provided very comfortable accommodation as well as excellent recording facilities and we were made to feel extremely welcome by the owner, John Wheelock. We were fortunate to secure the services of Adrian Hunter, an award-winning recording engineer very well known in the early music world, who both engineered and produced for us. His skill in handling the sessions over the three days was absolutely superb. Since the recording, we have been in constant dialogue with Adrian, receiving first, second, third and fourth edits, to which we have appended our comments. Adrian has managed to accommodate virtually all of these and we are now at the stage of awaiting the final version, which will become the master from which the CDs will be produced. I am currently composing the sleeve notes. Unfortunately, the concert of this repertoire at the 2020 Three Choirs Festival planned for August, for which we would have been joined by James Gilchrist, suffered the same fate as all public performances during the lockdown, but we are delighted that we will be performing the programme in next year’s festival.

Despite the completion of this recording project now drawing near, the long work of editing, selecting, performing and recording this wonderfully varied repertoire seems all-the-more to be just the start of a deeper exploration of consort music from this most fascinating of periods. Without the generosity, confidence and enthusiasm of Angel Early Music and numerous private sponsors, projects such as this would struggle to thrive. The flourishing of such altruism during the current crisis has been striking, and I am confident that I speak for all musicians who have benefitted from such support in expressing our most sincere gratitude to Angel Early Music and all those who have contributed.
David Hatcher