Phantasm (Laurence Dreyfus, Jonathan Manson, Emilia Benjamin and Markku Luolajan-Mikkola) with Elizabeth Kenny, lute accepts the 2017 Gramophone Prize for Early Music at the Awards Ceremony in London.
Phantasm's CD of Dowland's Lachrimae with Elizabeth Kenny, lute, has been awarded the 2017 Gramophone Award for Early Music. Since their founding in 1994, Phantasm's discs have been nominated for 11 Awards and have been winners for the recordings of Henry Purcell and Orlando Gibbons. The Award for the Dowland disc is their third.
These are poignant performances of music steeped in melancholy and given a deep beauty by Elizabeth Kenny and Phantasm, led by Laurence Dreyfus: a really wonderful Dowland recording. http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/best-new-classical-albums-august-2016
AUS DEM STUDIO FRANKEN
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Mit dem von ihm gegründeten Gambenensemble "Phantasm" fährt er mit glutvollen Interpretationen der englischen Consort-Musik von Byrd bis Purcell seit vielen Jahren einen Preis nach dem anderen ein und entzückt die Kritiker. Als Gelehrter aber, der er auch ist, ist Laurence Dreyfus ein Mann des weiten Blickes und unter anderem ein international renommierter Wagner-Experte. In Massachusetts wurde geboren, viele Jahre hatte er eine Professur an der Universität Oxford inne, jetzt, nach seiner Emeritierung, hat es den Umtriebigen in das quirlige Berlin gezogen - eine gute Idee, von der beide Seiten profitieren werden. Andreas Grabner im Gespräch mit Dreyfus, der nicht nur ein Meister des geschliffenen Gambenspiels, sondern auch einer des geschliffenen Wortes ist.
William Lawes: The Royal Consorts - Phantasm Linn CKD470 (2SACD) The consort music of the early 17th century has been a specialty interest of mine, but I think this gloriously inventive, infectious music and playing would appeal to just about anyone - and, in fact, it did, to judge by how many best-of-2015 lists it made. The Scottish indie label Linn first got into the record business to showcase its high-end audiophile equipment. It can be counted on for warm, realistic, glowing sound and superb documentation, and delivers all of that handsomely.
LORDING IT OVER KING CHARLES' DANCE
William Lawes inhabited a medieval London that was about to be irreplaceably altered by the Great Fire of 1666. He found gainful employment as a composer at the court of King Charles I and as Parliament flexed its republican instincts, he felt moved to add the prefix ‘Royal’ to his Consort pieces. Much good it did him: Lawes was killed fighting for the Royalists during the Siege of Chester in 1645. As with all kinds of genuinely great dance music, Lawes’ pieces are as much about the idea of movement as they are specific invitations to the dance floor. This is a composer who revels in lopsided groupings of bars, allowing his individual melodic phrasings to follow their natural incline rather than being merely shepherded behind bar lines like sheep – a lesson in how symmetry can be overrated. More usually recorded in the composer’s own revised remake version for a larger ensemble, Oxford-based Phantasm opt to perform Lawes’ original version for four viols and the lower pitched lute-like theorbo (plus organist Daniel Hyde makes a cameo appearance with some bonus sets “to the organ”). The rhythmic vivacity and pungent push-pull swing of their playing rocks, while their ear for authentic period non-tempered tunings is exquisite.
"In the Royal Consorts we discovered that a viol consort – boosted by a brilliant theorbo player – can really 'rock', 'kick' and 'swing', tapping into the impulse sparking Lawes' genial music." – Laurence Dreyfus
Charles Burney dismissed them as vile, but William Lawes’ Royal extravagances are most definitely viol.
Confounding the doom-mongers who have long predicted the demise of recorded classical music, 2015 has been an exceptionally fine one, not least from the smaller, independent labels who so often succeed in coupling exciting musicians with ideally suited and often imaginative repertoire.
2015 has been an excellent year for lovers of early music, and the disc of viol music by William Lawes from Phantasm (on the Linn label) has become a particular favourite with our regular reviewer. The majority of this two-disc set is devoted to Lawes's Royall Consort, a collection of ten suites (or 'Setts') written for the court of Charles I. They exist in versions for both viols and violins; Phantasm opt persuasively for the former, and they get right inside the richly-textured music. This is dance music with a difference, Lawes constantly flouting expectations with unexpected harmonies and phrase rhythms, a right royal treat from start to finish.