Each lovely grace
The Punckes delight (Lyra-viol)
My deerest Mistrisse
If my Complaints (Lyra-viol)
Downe, downe proud minde
Coranto (2)
As by a fountaine chast Diana sate
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EACH LOVELY GRACE THE SECOND BOOKE OF AYRES, Some, to Sing and Play to the Base-Violl alone... With new Corantoes, Pavins, Almaines; also diverse Descants upon old Grounds, set to the Lyra-Violl. By William Corkine.
Cantar alla Viola Nadine Balbesi, soprano Fernando Marín, viola da gamba, lyra-viol
  1  Prelude (1) (Lyra-viol)   2  Shall a smile   3  Fly swift my thoughts   4  Pavin (Lyra-viol) (2nd tuning)   5  Downe, downe proud minde   6  Away, away   7  Mounsiers Almaine (Lyra-viol)   8  Prelude (2) (Lyra-viol)   9  Goe heavy thoughts 10  Almaine (Lyra-viol) (2nd tuning) 11  Coranto (2) 12  Two Lovers sat lamenting
13  T’is true, t’is day 14  If my Complaints (Lyra-viol) 15  Coranto (1) 16  Man like a Prophet of ensuing yeeres 17  Shall I be with joyes deceived? 18  Each lovely grace 19  The Punckes delight (Lyra-viol) 20  Beware faire Maides 21  Come live with me and be my Love (Lyra-viol) 22  My deerest Mistrisse 23  Walsingham (Lyra-viol) 24  As by a fountaine chast Diana sate
This music is truly lovely, focused and - perhaps most noticeably - reflects many moods...Nadine Balbeisi and Fernando Marín obviously have a great deal invested in the music, its emotional impact, the purposeful tension between text and music, at which we can safely say Corkine was expert. We know all too little about William Corkine: that he was an English composer and musician - player of the lute, viol and lyra-viol - who flourished in the second decade of the seventeenth century in Britain before travelling to Poland in 1617. Two books of 'Ayres' exist … the first expects lute and bass-viol accompaniment and was published in 1610; the second (1612) contains 18 songs for bass-viol alone, 13 of them lack tablature or alternative part-song versions.   It's this latter collection that is presented here; other songs included on the CD are those of Corkine's 'Lessons' with lyra viol. This is the only CD devoted entirely to Corkine's intense, melodious, concentrated and highly expressive music other than one on Channel Classics (21204) by Mieneke Van der Velden, Johannette Zomer, Fred Jacobs and Jaap ter Linden ('Musickes Sweetest Joyes').   This music is truly lovely, focused and - perhaps most noticeably - reflects many moods. From the melancholy so characteristic of the early Jacobean (such as Goe heavy thoughts and Downe, downe proud minde) through the pithy and pointed (Fly swift my thoughts) to the optimistic (My deerest Mistrisse). Only a couple are longer than five minutes; My deerest Mistrisse less than one. But this is emphatically not a collection of historical curios. Nadine Balbeisi and Fernando Marín obviously have a great deal invested in the music, its emotional impact, the purposeful tension between text and music, at which we can safely say Corkine was expert. They present the rounded and mature resultant blend to us with neither fuss nor apology.   It's very much its own music … sui generis. No overt weeping or 'professional' depression, as was a speciality of the likes of Dowland. Somehow the music we hear in this collection is much more low key, more reserved, and generally the tempi are slower. There is a less extrovert feel to the music; it's more concentrated; less self-conscious, in the way that Byrd's or Gibbons' equivalents are, rather than Farnaby's or Weelkes'. Balbeisi and Marín understand the idiom very well. At times, one wishes for a little more spring in their step, a little more vivacity to a song like Two Lovers sat lamenting, for instance.   The pair have the import of the music well, though. Two aspects of the work of the duo, Cantar alla Viola, stand out: the intimate relationship between voice and viol, which not only does justice to the textures in which Corkine works, but even enhances his gentle intensity. And they bring the fresh attitude of an American/Jordanian (Balbeisi) and a Spaniard (Marín) to the very English music of Corkine.   The attention paid to the construction and tuning of the instrument - a modern copy, described well in the accompanying booklet - is clearly as responsible for the happy embrace of voice with strings as are the technical expertise and interpretative skills of the duo. Equally interesting, and equally successful, is the approach which Balbeisi and Marín take to pronunciation. It's apparently a pronunciation consistent with scholars' best efforts at approximation to Early Modern English with its greater degree of what to us is 'earthiness'. And of greater variety … pronunciation of the same word may legitimately vary from song to song.   This CD has little of the sense of a standalone recital, nor an arbitrary collection, still less a thematic mixture. Rather, it's a faithful and hence highly enjoyable, offering laying as bare the music as Corkine – who, on this evidence, deserves to be better known - lays bare his mind and heart in music of true originality and depth. Mark Sealey, MusicWeb INTERNATIONAL Nadine Balbeisi and Fernando Marín perform with studied intelligence...Corkine’s music has been well realised. William Corkine’s biography is exiguous: even his dates of birth and death are uncertain. One can obviously suggest he was a contemporary of Dowland though probably a younger one given that his Second Book of Ayres was published nine years after Dowland’s third set of songs. One can also note that he had an acute ear for poetry. Among the poems he set are Donne’s Break of Day and ’Tis true, ’tis day, what though it be? and Sidney’s The Fire to see my woes for anger burneth though none is contained in this 1612 set. Like Dowland, Corkine was a lutenist, and he also played the viol and an instrument for which English aristocracy harboured a fondness, the lyra-viol. Another conjunction with Dowland is that he left his native country to work abroad, leaving for Poland in 1617. After that there seems very little known.   His first set of Ayres was published in 1610, the second two years later. As the notes make clear this later set contains eighteen songs for voice and accompanying bass viol. Of these thirteen have just a bass line to go on. There is also a collection of Lyra Viol lessons at the end of this second book, one for two lyra viol and eleven lessons for solo instrument. In this disc, one of the very few ever to have been devoted solely to Corkine’s music — some of his songs are included in anthologies, as are some of the instrumental works — we hear all the songs and all the solo lyra lessons.   The recital was recorded in the Church of Santa Maria di Siurana but sufficient care has been taken to ensure that there is clarity and detail in the sound, whilst also acknowledging the natural bloom and decay of the acoustic. Sometimes the lower notes of the viola can boom, and obstruct the vocal line.   Corkine was an elegant stylist, reserved, moderate, not inclined to showy declamation or to plumb the greater depths (or heights) of love and loss. His muse remains on an even keel, the music remaining refined and moderate, aware of constraint and the appropriate emotive temperature for each song. The accompaniment is supportive and never graphic or explicatory. The songs remain predominantly slow, and in truth lack Dowland’s gift of invention, phrasal richness and textual interplay. These, by contrast, are more pedestrian in their sense of colour and response to text.   It’s of some interest that he sets so many active texts; words like ‘down’, ‘fly’, and ‘away’ are frequent in the poems, and familiar from poetry of the time, but it’s curious that his response to such potential vitality is so inert. Much is cast in the melancholy vein of the time, but there’s one number that shows his command of a fruitier vernacular, Away, away, which is a typical instruction to a maid to put aside the modesty ‘that hides/The chieftest Jemme of Nature.’ Here Corkine gets up to tempo and banishes restraint, as well he might given the poem’s lascivious parade of tongues, hymens, girdles, veils and the like.   Elsewhere, as long as one appreciates Corkine’s deliberate expressive reserve, there are plenty of things to admire and enjoy. Two lovers sat lamenting doesn’t stimulate him to shudder at the words ‘silent moane’ or to colour the accompanying line with any allusive commentary; the music remains steadfast, refined, stoic in its avoidance of frivolity.   The instrumental music includes the expected dance forms of Pavan, Courante and the like, though here spelled, as per the printed original Pavin and Coranto. These also reflect the qualities of intense reserve but also fugitive humour. The puckes delight, which is one of his best known viol pieces, is unusually rustic with its drone effect and flowing, hugely engaging energy. It’s a suitable foil for the stately reserve of the other movements.   Nadine Balbeisi and Fernando Marín perform with studied intelligence. The soprano adopts what is assumed to be the correct pronunciation, whilst Marín carries out his dual function as accompanying viola da gamba player and solo lyra-violist with thoughtful care as to registrations. Corkine’s music has been well realised. Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb INTERNATIONAL
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