It’s from that most musically sophisticated of viol consorts, Phantasm, which has just released Christopher Tye’s Complete Consort Music, and they’re just the ensemble to reveal the originality of his writing. ‘The more one delves into these pieces’, writes Phantasm’s founder Laurence Dreyfus, ‘the more the craggy lines, indecorous clashes and sudden deviations work their special magic, veering between lyrical contemplation and jubilant rapture.’ Even for Tye though these two pieces are a bit special. You’ll hear his free composition, Sit fast, just three voices but it feels like more of them. ‘His most fascinating creation’ says Dreyfus, in two parts based on an unpredictable pattern of repetitions. Before it, Tye’s In nomine ‘Cry’, based on the plainchant In nomine by John Taverner and gathering together London’s street cries and transforming them into a dance.
Sit fast, sixteenth-century Englishman Christopher Tye's magnum opus for viol consort and before it his ingenious In nomine ‘Cry', recycling London traders’ street cries. Performed by Phantasm with impeccable technical control, intonation and mastery of the music’s lines, and those sudden outbreaks of eccentricity and imaginative leaps and interjections. It’s hard to imagine Tye’s complexities and idiosyncrasies being laid before us by a viol consort with more beauty than this and I could have picked any one of these thirty-one pieces and there would have fascinating and surprising discoveries to be made, enough to persuade me to reassess my opinion of the composer’s place amongst his peers. Christopher’s Tye Complete Consort Music released yesterday by Linn Records.