I always get excited when I get to hear an album of artists I am not familiar with, which turns out to be wonderful. Simon Ponsford, a young and upcoming countertenor and his father David, an award winning keyboardist and musicologist have recorded a disc of Elizabethan and Jacobean songs and keyboard music called “Time Stands Still’.
Simon is most impressive with a voice reminiscent of David Daniels. He should have a great career ahead of him. This is his first disc. He appears to be very busy in the U.K. singing works from Bach to Jonathon Dove. He studied with Michael Chance and Ian Partridge. Here he sings works of Byrd, Dowland, Johnson, Rosseter and Ford. He shines, especially in such songs as “Awake Sweet Love” and “I Saw My Lady Weep”. He is definitely someone to watch and enjoy listening.
Simon’s accompanist is his father David, who is a highly accomplished keyboardist. In this recording, he plays on a baroque organ and an exact copy of a 1645 Flemish virginal. His playing is exquisite allowing his son to inspire while enhancing the experience. He also plays some solo music in which he excels, particularly Byrd’s “Fantasia in C” for organ and Tomkins “A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Times” with virginal. David studied with Peter Hurford, Lionel Rogg, Piet Kee, Kenneth Gilbert and Gustav Leonhardt. He has recorded various discs of baroque music both as soloist and accompanist. He recorded several volumes of French Baroque organ music for Nimbus last year.
One interesting side note is, while we are used to hearing these songs mainly arranged for lute or recorder, David has used fabulous arrangements for virginal and organ. I hope that the Ponfords continue to make more great music in the future and create many more recordings. Simon could very well become a rising star in baroque operas and oratorios. The recording was made at The Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Devon in 2013.
SIMON PONSFORD (countertenor) recently graduated MA with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music, where he was also awarded the S & M Eyres Wilson Scholarship and a Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music for outstanding performance. As an ensemble singer, Simon has sung with many professional choirs including Polyphony, English Voices and Tenebrae, was an Apprentice in the Monteverdi Choir, and is a founder member of the Platinum Consort. He is currently a lay clerk in the choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and has just been appointed a Lay Vicar in the choir of Westminster Abbey. This is his debut recording as a soloist.
DAVID PONSFORD is an organist, harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor, and an authority on keyboard music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On graduating from Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral. Later, he studied for a PhD on performance practice in French Baroque organ music with Professor Peter Williams. He is now Associate Lecturer at Cardiff University, where he conducts the University Chamber Orchestra and gives lectures in performance practice. He also teaches organ and harpsichord at Bristol University, and gives series of lectures at Madingley Hall, Cambridge. The first two of a series of CDs of seventeenth and eighteenth-century French organ music recorded on French historic organs were released by Nimbus in 2013.
Simon Ponsford (countertenor) recently graduated with an MA Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music, where he was also awarded the S & M Eyres Wilson Scholarship and a Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music for outstanding performance.
Throughout his career, David Ponsford has combined the skills of a performer with those of a scholar.
William Byrd (1543 – 1623 _was an English composer of the Renaissance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Byrd)
John Dowland (1563 – 1626) was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dowland)
Philip Rosseter (1568 – 5 May 1623) was an English composer and musician, as well as a theatrical manager. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Rosseter)
Thomas Campion (1567 – 1620) was an English composer, poet, and physician. He wrote over a hundred lute songs, masques for dancing, and an authoritative technical treatise on music. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Campion)
Orlando Gibbons (1583 – 1625) was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Gibbons)
Robert Johnson (1583 – 1634) was an English composer and lutenist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean eras. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnson_(English_composer))
Thomas Tomkins (1572 – 1656) was a Welsh born composer of the late Tudor and early Stuart period. In addition to being one of the prominent members of the English madrigal school, he was a skilled composer of keyboard and consort music, and the last member of the English virginalist school. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Tomkins)
Thomas Ford ( 1580 – 1648) was an English composer, lutenist, viol player and poet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Ford_(composer))