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Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, March 2018

Thomas Tomkins was a master of melancholy, and for good reason: he witnessed his life’s work, his home, his choir and his organ at Worcester Cathedral destroyed during the English Civil War. But we hear something bordering on neurosis in this exquisite, reconstructed setting (one part was lost) that straddles the consort song and the verse anthem. Red Byrd, singing one-per-part with historically informed vowel sounds, are unsurpassed in this repertoire. © 2018 Gramophone

Penguin Guide, January 2009

This well-planned Naxos programme is carefully laid out in two parts, each of viol music interspersed with harpsichord and organ pieces and ending with an anthem. It gives collectors an admirable opportunity to sample, very inexpensively, the wider output of Thomas Tomkins, and outstandingly fine Elizabethan musician whose music is still too unknown. Though he is best known for hid magnificent church music, it is refreshing to discover what he could do with viols, experimenting with different combinations of sizes of instruments, usually writing with the polyphony subservient to expressive harmonic feeling, as in the splendid and touching Fantasia for six viols. Perhaps the most remarkable piece here is the Hexachord fantasia, where the scurrying part-writing ornaments a rising and falling six-note scale (hexachord). The two five-part verse anthems and Above the stars, which is in six parts, are accompanied by five viols, with a fine counter-tenor in Above the stars and a bass in Thou art my King.

American Record Guide, December 1995

All the performances are excellent. The Rose Consort are expert veterans of many a recording... The sound is clear and lifelike, with a minimum of ambience... In all, an outstanding bargain.

Early Music Review

"well worth buying and will win Tomkins many new fans"


"the disc can be makes a good introduction to Tomkins, all of whose music here is of high quality."

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