The York Siege Project
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ebor Singers in 2015, we launched our most ambitious project ever - the discovery and recording of the music of the Siege of York.
Music from the English Civil War
The English Civil War was a period of political, social and religious upheaval. The sacred music of this time – rarely recorded in context – provides a commentary on this tumultuous change, with choices of text and development of musical styles reflecting not only an insight to Charles I’s religious beliefs and how he maintained his worship during the Civil War, but how events impacted – sometimes tragically - on the King’s circle of musicians. Two discs reflect two different historic thematic narratives, but share similar musical stylistic developments, with solo and full choir pieces.
The repertoire of this recording was researched by the choir's director, Dr Paul Gameson, who also prepared the editions for much of the music. His scholarly edition of William Lawes' 'Psalms to Common Tunes' will be available to purchase when the recordings are released.
A Cavalier Christmas
A Cavalier Christmas explores Christmas repertoire Charles may have heard from his war court at Christchurch College, Oxford, ranging from favourites of the late Tudor period (Byrd, Gibbons) through to a series of Christmas anthems by George Jeffreys, who served Charles I.
Byrd: Behold I give you glad tidings (contrafactum of Ne irascaris) (premiere recording)
Dering: Quem vidistis
Jenkins: Newark Siege
Jeffreys: Hark shepherd swains (premiere recording)
Gibbons: See the word is incarnate
The Sound of Drums
The Sound of Drums is a sequence devised around a unique collection of psalms by William Lawes that may have been performed in York Minster during the Siege of York in 1644, alongside works by Byrd, Tomkins, York composer John Hutchinson, Jeffreys, Locke and Lawes’ brother Henry. The music traces the fortunes of Charles I over the course of the Civil War.
Tomkins: O God the proud are risen against thee
Jeffreys: How wretched is the state (premiere recording)
William Lawes: Psalm 18
William Lawes: See how Cawood's dragon looks
Chelys Consort of Viols
For A Cavalier Christmas we were delighted to collaborate with Chelys, a recently-formed viol consort of experienced players. As well as accompanying the choir for consort songs by Gibbons, Byrd and Peerson, they perform The Newark Seidge by Jenkins.
We recorded over 5 days in the National Centre for Early Music, based in the old St Margaret's Church on Walmgate (just yards from the city walls, and beyond that, an area that was heavily bomarded by both sides during the Siege). The engineer was David Rose, who used Schoeps Sennheiser AKG Neumann microphones. The producer and editor was Matthew Bennett (www.mjbennett.com).