TENET Vocal Artists, NYC’s preeminent early music ensemble led by artistic director Jolle Greenleaf, releases a Christmas disc of music spanning medieval to modern day repertoire. TENET’s pristine, one-on-a-part singing lends itself well to both well-known and rarely heard songs and carols featured in this recording. New compositions and fresh arrangements make Love Enfolds Thee Round a stand-out among holiday recordings. Each member of the ensemble is well featured, creating an intimate sound-world to celebrate the holiday season.
|TENET Vocal Artists||1:25|
|02||O Jesulein süss|
O Jesulein süss
|TENET Vocal Artists||2:42|
|03||Tu scendi dalle stelle|
Tu scendi dalle stelle
|Stephen Sands, tenor, Hank Heijink, lute||1:54|
|04||Jesus Christ the apple tree|
Jesus Christ the apple tree
|TENET Vocal Artists||3:09|
|05||Wither’s Rocking Hymn|
Wither’s Rocking Hymn
|TENET Vocal Artists||3:11|
|06||A Spotless Rose|
A Spotless Rose
|TENET Vocal Artists||2:53|
|07||The Infant King (Sing lullaby)|
The Infant King (Sing lullaby)
|TENET Vocal Artists||2:13|
|08||Lullay my liking|
Lullay my liking
|TENET Vocal Artists||4:23|
|09||Rise up shepherd and follow|
Rise up shepherd and follow
|TENET Vocal Artists||3:06|
|TENET Vocal Artists||3:11|
|11||See amid the winter’s snow|
See amid the winter’s snow
|TENET Vocal Artists||4:37|
|12||Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle|
Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle
|Jolle Greenleaf, soprano, Hank Heijink, lute||2:03|
|13||Sweet little Jesus boy|
Sweet little Jesus boy
|Charles Wesley Evans, bass-baritone||5:19|
|Hank Heijink, lute||1:41|
|15||What child is this|
What child is this
|Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone, Hank Heijink, lute||3:37|
|TENET Vocal Artists||1:35|
|Virginia Warnken Kelsey, mezzo-soprano, Stephen Sands, tenor, Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone||3:59|
|18||Veni mater gracie/Dou way Robin|
Veni mater gracie/Dou way Robin
|Jolle Greenleaf, soprano, Molly Quinn, soprano, Stephen Sands, tenor||2:34|
|19||Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen|
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
|Molly Quinn, soprano, Hank Heijink, lute||2:18|
|20||The holly and the ivy|
The holly and the ivy
|TENET Vocal Artists||2:52|
|21||Three kings from Persian lands afar|
Three kings from Persian lands afar
|TENET Vocal Artists||2:16|
|22||Hush thee, princeling|
Hush thee, princeling
|TENET Vocal Artists||1:32|
TENET Vocal Artists created this disc as a gift to its loyal audience of supporters during a time of increased isolation due to the pandemic. Although much of the repertoire featured falls outside the purview of “early music,” the disc well represents the singers’ collective specialties in the music of the Anglican tradition. In fact, the works on this recording could easily serve as selections from a Lessons and Carols service of today.
Representing British masters from the last century, TENET includes some of the best-known works from the Christmas canon including Peter Warlock’s “Bethlehem Down,” Herbert Howells’ “A Spotless Rose,” and Hubert Parry’s “Welcome Yule.” David Willcocks, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Gustav Holst also make appearances with rarely heard gems and arrangements of medieval tunes.
Early compositions that have become known as traditional Christmas works include Francis Cutting’s “Greensleeves,” Praetorius’ “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen,” and Bach's famous chorale, “O Jesulein süß.” The hauntingly beautiful 14th Century motet, “Veni mater gracie/Dou way Robin” tells of Mary’s immaculate conception in the lead voice all the while shooing away a pesky Robin who might wake the Christ child in the counter melody using an early form of ground bass.
TENET is very fortunate to have among its cast accomplished singer, composer, and arranger Jonathan Woody, who provided beautiful arrangements for two classic tunes: “Rise up, Shepherd, and Follow” and “Coventry Carol.” He imbued these well-known classics with his fresh, contemporary voice. Woody also composed a new version of “What Child is This” (along with the transition from Greensleeves) for bass voice and lute. His rendition mixes his own knowledge of early music style and vocal practices with contemporary harmonies, showing off the versatility of lutenist Hank Heijink.
TENET fans will recognize the voices of our singers as they perform one-on-a-part; the crystalline timbres of artistic director Jolle Greenleaf and Molly Quinn, sopranos, the warm alto of Virginia Warnken Kelsey, versatile and sweet-toned tenor Stephen Sands, and rich and enveloping bass-baritones Charles Wesley Evans and Jonathan Woody. Hank Heijink’s accompanying prowess is on full display, enhancing the carols throughout the recording.
“Love Enfolds Thee Round” closes with a charming contemporary work by composer Norman dello Joio and writer Anna Elizabeth Bennett, “Hush Thee, Princeling” (also known as “Lullaby for the Christ Child”), whose last line of the first poetic verse serves as the disc’s title.
Recorded by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio, Mt Vernon, NY
Edited, mixed, and mastered by Ryan Streber
Editing assistant: Charles Mueller
Design: Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com
Cover: delfi de la Rua, Unsplash.com
Back Cover: Brian Erikson, Unsplash.com
Preëminent New York City-based early music ensemble TENET Vocal Artists trusts in the power of music to bring joy and peace to our 21st century world. Under Artistic Director Jolle Greenleaf, TENET Vocal Artists has won acclaim for its innovative programming, virtuosic singing and command of repertoire that spans the Middle Ages to the present day.
Highlights of recent seasons include performances of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Bach's motets, Handel’s Messiah, a three-year cycle of Carlo Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories, regular performances of music by Henry Purcell and his contemporaries in honor of St. Cecilia, music’s patron saint, and explorations into medieval repertoire. TENET Vocal Artists has also dedicated itself to creating original theatrical performances highlighting works composed by, for, and about women in 17th century Italy.
Renowned for their interpretations of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, TENET Vocal Artists' distinguished soloists have been praised for their pristine one-voice-to-a-part singing “to an uncanny degree of precision” (The Boston Globe). Under TENET's auspices, the highly praised Green Mountain Project gave annual performances (2010-2020) of Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and other reconstructed Vespers featuring music by Monteverdi, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Giovanni Gabrieli, Antoine Charpentier, Michael Praetorius, and their contemporaries.
A driving force in cultivating New York City’s early music community, TENET Vocal Artists collaborates regularly with other acclaimed ensembles and organizations including ACRONYM, Dark Horse Consort, Ensemble Caprice, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Quicksilver Baroque, the Sebastians, and many others.
TENET Vocal Artists performs regularly at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Caramoor, Columbia University, Yale University, and numerous other venues in and around New York City. Further afield, TENET Vocal Artists has performed at the Festival Casals de Puerto Rico, Berkshire Bach Festival, Connecticut Early Music Festival, Costa Rica International Music Festival, Montreal Baroque Festival, and many other festivals throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe.