O Ye Tender Babes

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English Virginal Music played upon the harpsichord, Flemish virginals, and “mother-and-child” muselaar. (WLBR 9507)

“There is, in music for the virginals, a beautiful balance between soldity and fantasy— on the one hand, an unshakable pulse, a bedrock of structural rhythm, a logic of basic conceit, a belief in the orderliness of the universe, and on the other hand, musings, mischievousness, prankishness and invention: the quiet genius of the English people.” —from the notes by Frances Conover Fitch.

Three very different keyboard instruments are employed for this unusual project: a copy of the 1640 harpsichord by Iohannes Ruckers, in petite ravalement (keyboards aligned, original 4 sets of jacks) built by Ronald Haas; a reconstruction of the virginals by Joest Karest, Antwerp (16th century) by Curtis Berak; and a “mother and child” muselaar by the late Robert Greenberg. Three very rare instruments for a body of rare and exciting music. Color photos reveal their individuality, but no more so than the recording, which conveys a wealth of timbral detail and compelling performance, combined for a thrilling and unusual musical experience.


  1. In Nomine (John Bull)
  2. The King’s Hunt (John Bull)
  3. Pavana Pazzamezzo (Peter Philips)
  4. Gagliarda Passamezzo (Peter Philips)
  5. Pavin Earl Strafford (Thomas Tomkins)
  6. Galliard Earl Strafford (Thomas Tomkins)
  7. The Queen’s Alman (William Byrd)
  8. Like as the doleful dove (Thomas Tallis)
  9. O ye tender babes (Thomas Tallis)
  10. Fantasia (William Byrd)
  11. Amarilli di Julio Romano (Peter Philips)
  12. The Lord of Salisbury, his Pavin (Orlando Gibbons)
  13. Galiardo (Orlando Gibbons)
  14. The Leaves bee greene (William Inglott)
  15. Barafostus’ Dream (Thomas Tomkins)