Tye: Complete Consort Music CD review – consistently beautiful

Much is made by Laurence Dreyfus, the director of the viol consort Phantasm, of Christopher Tye’s eccentric ways. “Craggy lines, indecorous clashes and sudden deviations work their special magic,” he writes in the sleeve notes. Indeed they do, with sudden mood swings, rogue metre changes and harmonic mayhem making the ground feel as though it is always shifting under your feet. But what strikes me about this recording is its suaveness, its evenness, its consistent beauty. Phantasm ride the impish contours of Tye’s imagination with unbending calm. Even in a stunning “free” composition such as the three-part Sit Fast — which breaks out of its lamentations into sudden squalls of dance, like someone who forgets they are at a funeral and goes a bit disco — Phantasm’s control is absolute. The playing is remarkable, and technically flawless, but in music so full of surprises I would love to hear some surprise.





Aug 2017


Kate Molleson

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