Denis Stevens (1922-2004) was a musicians musician — musicologist, conductor, professor, and producer. He focused on early music for much of his career, and during his tenure as a professor at Columbia University during the 1960s and ’70s partnered with American independent label Musical Heritage Society to make recordings with two ensembles he created, the UK based Ambrosian Singers (founded just after World War II), and New York City’s Academia Monteverdiana.
The present recoring, originally issued on LP in the 1960s, was a “two-in-one” program. The first features works for voice and ensemble written during the 16th and 17th century based on the “Cries of London” – chants, songs, and slogans of street vendors – arranged by composers of the day for voice(s) and ensemble. The second brings together vocal and choral music in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603 – works whose advanced polyphony broke new ground in vocal writing of the era.
Originally released in 1968, this best-selling recording receives its first digital release for high-definition streaming and download, with original liner notes by Denis Stevens.