John Amner was born and died in Ely, Cambridgeshire and worked for the greater part of his life at Ely Cathedral, as a boy chorister and later as informator choristorum. He succeeded some of England’s finest composers such as George Barcroft, John Farrant and Christopher Tye. He received his Bachelor of Music from Oxford with the support of the Earl of Bath in 1613, and also from Cambridge in 1640.
Although not a ‘celebrated ‘ composer of the Renaissance era, the music in Amner’s Sacred Hymnes shows that he was capable of writing in a number of styles from three-voice conzonets through to elaborate consort anthems of multiple voices in the verse sections. Also on this fascinating album is his five part Pavan and Galliard Amner’s only surviving works for viol consort which represents an indication of a broader compositional output of instrumental music by the composer.
Amner has been seldom recorded, and this album represents an important addition to the understanding of both the composer and the provincial religious music scene in England in the first half of the 17th century.
The recording was meticulously and lovingly curated by Mark Keane, directing ensembles Fretwork and the Dublin Consort Singers.