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A Blockbuster of 2015 - Iowa Public Radio

http://www.tinyurl.com/ze27ljk 

 

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.  
 

Barney Sherman

Winner 2015 Chamber Recording of the Year

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. 

Philip Clark

"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 

http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/features/chamber-recording-year-2015

 

Charles Burney dismissed them as vile, but William Lawes’ Royal extravagances are most definitely viol.

 

 

Europadisc Top 10 of 2015

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.

Phantasm's Lawes counted among the 168 Best Classical Music Recordings

http://maginsight.com/the-168-best-classical-music-recordings/

THE 168 BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC RECORDINGS

CLASSICMUSIC

OCTOBER 12, 2015

BY MAG INS

 

 

This selection of the finest classical recordings available, which first appeared in 2009, is the most authoritative and entertaining guide of its kind. However, after five years any guide needs sprucinhttp://maginsight.com/the-168-best-classical-music-recordings/ I didn’t want to compromise the inimitable style of the original, so rather than revise it, I’ve added some ideas of my own.

There are now two new suggestions in each category, and three brand-new categories. The result is an even fuller map of classical music recordings. There are more landmarks, while whole areas which were blank are now filled in. Time to go exploring in this rich area of musical experience. Ivan Hewett (2014)

71) William Lawes – Consorts to the Organ (Phantasm) - Linn Records 

William Lawes, who died in a Civil War battle, composed these pieces for five or six viols and organ in the 1630s. They’ve been described as a peak of chamber music, worthy to stand alongside Bach’s Musical Offering and Haydn’s string quartets Op. 33. Phantasm make them sound phantastic, appropriately.

Phantasm's Lawes counted among the 168 Best Classical Music Recordings

http://maginsight.com/the-168-best-classical-music-recordings/

THE 168 BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC RECORDINGS

CLASSICMUSIC

OCTOBER 12, 2015

BY MAG INS

 

 

This selection of the finest classical recordings available, which first appeared in 2009, is the most authoritative and entertaining guide of its kind. However, after five years any guide needs sprucinhttp://maginsight.com/the-168-best-classical-music-recordings/ I didn’t want to compromise the inimitable style of the original, so rather than revise it, I’ve added some ideas of my own.

There are now two new suggestions in each category, and three brand-new categories. The result is an even fuller map of classical music recordings. There are more landmarks, while whole areas which were blank are now filled in. Time to go exploring in this rich area of musical experience. Ivan Hewett (2014)

71) William Lawes – Consorts to the Organ (Phantasm) - Linn Records 

William Lawes, who died in a Civil War battle, composed these pieces for five or six viols and organ in the 1630s. They’ve been described as a peak of chamber music, worthy to stand alongside Bach’s Musical Offering and Haydn’s string quartets Op. 33. Phantasm make them sound phantastic, appropriately.

Lawes Royal Consort -CD of the Day - Austrian Radio - 6 October 2015

 

16 minutes of a programme devoted to Phantasm's recording of Lawes Royal Consort

 

Die wilde Tanzmusik des William Lawes

 

Er war am englischen Hof in der Sektion "Lutes, Viols and Voices" angestellt. Dort, also inmitten von Lauten und Gesangsstimmen, spielte er die Gambe: William Lawes, 1602 bis 1645. Seine Suitensammlung "The Royal Consort" liegt nun zum ersten Mal komplett auf Tonträger vor. Die Gruppe Phantasm lässt keinen Zweifel daran, wie tänzerisch diese Musik gemeint war - und wie weit Lawes sich von traditioneller bzw. höfisch fixierter Tanzmusik entfernt hatte. Die Musik atmet, hechelt, keucht, sie springt, schreitet und kriecht, jedes Mal anders, mit fließenden Übergängen ebenso wie harmonischen Stolpersteinen. Großartig.... Fantastische Musik gespielt von Phantasm!

The wild dance music of William Lawes

The group Phantasm leaves no room for doubt how dance-like this music was intended to be - and how far Lawes distanced himself from traditional and courtly norms of dance music. This is music that breathes, pants, and gasps; it leaps, strides and creeps along, every time in a different way with flowing transitions as well as shocking harmonic stumbling blocks. Magnificent! ... Fantastic music performed by Phantasm.

 

Albert Hosp

http://oe1.orf.at/programm/416876

 

 

WQXR New York - Lawes Royal Consort featured as 'New and Noteworthy'

 

WQXR introduces New and Noteworthy, an ongoing feature that helps keep you plugged into the hottest new and recent classical recordings.

Sept. 21, 2015

William Lawes: The Royal Consort - 10 Suites
Phantasm
Linn Records
Available at Arkivmusic.com

This 2-SACD set explores the unique creative output of English Renaissance composer William Lawes. "The Royal Consort" brings together a collection of what were at the time strikingly innovative and unconventional dance tunes, comprised of 10 sets (or "setts" in 17th century lexicon). They are recorded here for the first time in their complete original versions for four viols and theorbo.

http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/new-and-noteworthy-releases-september/

 

Phantasm - Lammermuir festival review – lyrical mystery

 

Whisper it, but this must be one of the best-kept secrets in the UK classical calendar. The Lammermuir festival takes place in churches and stately homes around East Lothian, the part of Scotland with the softest contours and most hours of sunlight per annum. There’s a quiet class about the whole thing that generates a special kind of listening; for all the dark arts of conjuring festival ambience, Lammermuir tends to simply programme right and let the music do the talking.

A late-night concert at St Mary’s in Haddington – a riverside church, staunchly gothic and moodily floodlit – featured the viol quartet Phantasm delving into some of the most searching music ever written. JS Bach never finished his epic contrapuntal masterpiece The Art of Fugue: the final passage, in which he enigmatically encrypted his own initials, simply cuts out mid-sentence and nobody quite knows why. The manuscript doesn’t specify instruments, and Phantasm made it their own, spinning each line with a sense of lyrical, wide-eyed storytelling that summed up Bach’s love of song and dance as much as the formidable mathematics of his counterpoint. I only wish they hadn’t played an encore: sure, their Purcell Fantasia was gorgeously lissome, but I wanted to leave with Bach’s mystery still hanging in the dark.

Phantasm/Danny Driver at Lammermuir festival review – lyrical mystery and dauntless cool
4/5stars

    

St Mary’s Parish & Holy Trinity Churches, Haddington
One of the UK’s classiest classical festivals saw viol quartet Phantasm excel in an unfinished Bach masterpiece

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/sep/20/phantasmdanny-driver-at-lam...

 

Lawes Royal Consort in the UK Classical Charts

 

To Phantasm's amazement, Lawes's Royal Consort (Linn Records) is #2 in the UK Specialist Classical Charts for the week of 23-30 May 2015, and - what's even more startling - #9 in the Classical Artist Albums. 

Hurrah for Lawes and English Consort Music! 

http://www.officialcharts.com/…/classical-artist-albums-ch…/

 

Official Specialist Classical Chart Top 30 | 24-05-2015 - 30-05-2015 | Official Charts Company

Compiled by the Official Charts Company, the UK's biggest specialist classical albums of the week, based on sales of digital bundles, CDs, vinyl and other formats, across a seven day period.

OFFICIALCHARTS.COM

 

 

http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/specialist-classical-chart/

 

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