Phantasm: "Smoke on the water"
Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci
13 June 2017
Consort! Phantasm realises this ideal in a deeply touching manner that takes the breath away. A special evening!
The art of ensemble in a viol consort can be compared with a string quartet, but even more so than in the later repertoire, one has to play with one breath and yet remain individual. In the best cases there arises a wonderful sense of suspended balance, an inspired play of tacit and expressive understanding. Consort! Phantasm realises this ideal in a deeply touching manner that takes the breath away. In the earlier part of the programme a strictly contrapuntal mass by William Byrd managed even without words to convey the deep religiosity of Catholics in a hostile Protestant milieu. The atmosphere then cheered up with Ferrabosco in a luminous fantasy.
The pinnacle of consort playing
The Purcell fantasies represent a highpoint but also the culmination of this golden phase of viol consorts. To have played this music with both virtuosity and profundity is nothing short of sensational. The variability of bow strokes, the underscoring and subsequent coordination of individual voices, the experiencing of unexpected homophony, the iridescent harmonic language, still contrapuntal yet pointing far into the future: all this represented the very pinnacle of consort playing. But most touching of all was the encore, a pavane by John Jenkins. It seemed almost as if this evening had been a special one even for Phantasm.
Clemens Goldberg, kulturradio