'Some of the best music you've ever heard!'

PHANTASM - LAWES: THE ROYAL CONSORT - DANISH RADIO

Album of the Week
29 May 2015
Danish Radio
Jens Cornelius
 

Album of the Week for Week 23 - William Lawes: The Royal Consort

In the album of the week you can hear English viol music from the beginning of the 1600s by William Lawes. Some of the best music you've ever heard!

Before you had violins there were other string instruments. In England they cultivated many of these instruments called viols. Added together in a group of viols, they were called a consort, and it was a kind of renaissance string quartet. In the album of the week, you can hear English viol music  from the beginning of the 1600s by William Lawes. Some of the best music you've ever heard!

Killed in battle fighting for the monarchy, William Lawes was a court musician for King Charles I, the English equivalent of  Christian IV in Denmark. But Charles was not as safe as Christian. There was great political dissatisfaction with the monarchy, and in 1645 the English Civil War broke out. One of its first victims was poor William Lawes, who true to his king had gone into the army. He was just 43 years old, when he fell in battle.

Fearless clashes

What he left behind includes a collection of ten suites, The Royal Consort. Lawes made both a version for viol (it's the one you hear on the Album of the Week) and a version in which he complemented with newfangled violins. The inventive judgment is terrific in this dance music that was too advanced to be used for dancing. The music winds through a wealth of expression, and the clashes between the solemn, the jovial sensuality and speculation are fierce. Lawes went to the very edge. It is a fearless and original personality one hears here.

A nice place in the shadows

But soon it went downhill with memories of William Lawes. Viols became unfashionable, and Lawes's music was only appreciated by connoisseurs. Only in recent decades has his music been rediscovered and, most importantly, played well.

The English viol consort Phantasm is simply unique and is just right for the Album of the Week. That neither Phantasm or William Lawes is better known is surely because only viol consort music still leads a shadowy existence. But does perhaps such a place in the shadows suit the unreal and strangely magical sounds that are the nature of the viols?

 

Ugens Album uge 23 - William Lawes: The Royal Consort

På Ugens Album kan du høre engelsk gambemusik fra begyndelsen af 1600-tallet af William Lawes. Noget af det bedste musik, du aldrig har hørt før!

Inden man havde violiner var der andre strygeinstrumenter. I England holdt man meget af de instrumenter, man kalder gamber. Satte man en gruppe gamber sammen, blev det kaldt et consort, og det var en slags renæssancens strygekvartet. På Ugens Album kan du høre engelsk gambemusik fra begyndelsen af 1600-tallet af William Lawes. Noget af det bedste musik, du aldrig har hørt før!

Faldt i kamp for kongen

William Lawes var hofmusiker for kong Charles d. 1, den engelske kollega til Christian d. 4 herhjemme. Men Charles sad ikke så sikkert som Christian. Der var stor politisk utilfredshed med monarkiet, og i 1645 brød den engelske borgerkrig ud. Et af de første ofre blev stakkels William Lawes, som tro mod sin konge var gået ind i hæren. Han var bare 43 år, da han blev dræbt i kamp

Frygtløse sammenstød

Han efterlod sig bl.a. en samling på ti suiter, The Royal Consort. Lawes lavede både en udgave for gamber (det er den, man hører på Ugens Album) og en udgave, hvor han supplerede med nymodens violiner.

Idérigdommen er forrygende i denne dansemusik, som var alt for avanceret til at blive brugt til dans. Musikken snor sig gennem et væld af udtryk, og sammenstødene mellem det højtidelige, det joviale, det sanselige og det spekulative er voldsom. Lawes gik til grænsen. Det er en frygtløs og original personlighed, man hører her.

En dejlig plads i skyggen

Men snart gik det ned af bakke med minderne om William Lawes. Gamber blev umoderne, og Lawes' musik blev kun værdsat af kendere. Først i de seneste årtier er hans musik blevet genopdaget og vigtigst af alt: spillet godt.

Den engelske gambegruppe Phantasm er simpelthen enestående god på Ugens Album. At hverken Phantasm eller William Lawes er bedre kendt skyldes vel kun, at gambemusik stadig lever en skyggetilværelse. Men måske er sådan en plads i skyggen passende for de uvirkelige og sært eventyragtige klange, der er gambernes natur?

 

Date: 

May 2015

Author: 

Jens Cornelius

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