Daily Telegraph

This disc may raise a few purist eyebrows. The very idea of playing idiomatic virginals music on a consort of viols seems audacious if not downright perverse. But the juxtaposition of transcriptions and music originally conceived for viols makes for a varied and attractive programme. Musically, the transcriptions of vocal as well as instrumental pieces are remarkably convincing. Even the virtuoso variations of The Hunt's Up and the plangent dissonances of Pavan Lord Salisbury lose nothing in translation. The bulk of the programme, however, is made up of groups of fantasias and "In Nomines" for up to six viols, all beautifully characterized in playing of rhythmic drive, crisp articulation and transparent textures. A clear sense of the overall shape of each piece, with well-judges contrasts of mood and pace, produces performances that do full justice to the music's profound expressiveness. This is viol playing of quite exceptional quality, calculated to convince any listeners who see the consort repertoire as something of an acquired taste that it is, in fact, delightfully easy to acquire.



Apr 2004


Elizabeth Roche

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