The extraordinary Belgian vocal ensemble Vox Luminis, winners of the prestigious 2012 Gramophone Recording of the Year, present a revelatory new recording of English Royal Funeral Music. The album, on Outhere's early music imprint Ricercar and available from Allegro Classical on April 9, features music written for the funeral of Queen Mary by Purcell, Paisible, Tollett, Morley, Weelkes, and Tomkins. In awarding Vox Luminis the 2012 Gramophone Recording of the Year and Baroque Album of the Year for their previous recording of 17th-century funeral music-Musicalische Exequien by Heinrich Schütz-the magazine enthused: "The 12 voices of Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis put their faith in tonal focus and sweetly balanced textures ... their singing produces music-making of intimate, aching beauty. A marvelous disc."
Shedding new light on the funeral of Queen Mary, Vox Luminis has created an elaborate reconstruction of the 1695 ceremony along with music heard at the funeral of Elizabeth I in 1603. The recording features three "Dirge Anthems" by Thomas Morley, originally written for the Elizabeth I; Henry Purcell's two pieces for slide trumpets ("The Queen's Funeral March" and "Canzona") and sublime a cappella anthems; and two marches by John Paisible and Thomas Tollet, which were played by a band of oboes during the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey. Also heard is the moving anthem by Thomas Weelkes on the death of Thomas Morley, "Death hath deprived me." The recording features contributions from two superb period instrument ensembles, Les Trompettes des Plaisirs and Lingua Franca.
Founded in 2004 in Namur, Belgium, Vox Luminis, with artistic director Lionel Meunier, is an ensemble specializing in the performance of 16th-18th century vocal music. The ensemble has been praised for its seamless blend of high quality individual voices, exquisite tuning and clarity of sound. The majority of the group met at Royal Conservatory in The Hague, one of the most significant centers for early music in Europe. Vox Luminis has performed in festivals and at concert venues in Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and Croatia. The ensemble's previous recordings, also for Ricercar, feature works by Domenico Scarlatti and Samuel Scheidt.