Early Music Forum of the Scotsman

Under the auspices of the enterprising recording label Avie, Phantasm continue their intriguing and revelatory survey of the viol consort music of 17th-century England. Over the years and a succession of lovely CDs I have praised Phantasm's manual dexterity, their musicality, their faultless ensemble, their ringing tone and their choice of fabulous repertoire. These virtues all apply to this recording too, and the music of Jenkins takes us on a thoroughly rewarding harmonic and melodic mystery tour. There are more subtle harmonic and melodic nuances in each of these small pieces than in an entire i-pod full of pop songs or a complete Eurovision Song Contest, andthe mind is set to speculating the extent to which political and social insecurity led to the fluid and unsettled harmonies and passing dissonances so characteristic of 17th-century English music. This is viol playing at its finest, and the CD is an absolute delight.




Apr 2007


James Ross

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