Locke: Chamber Music

Matthew Locke
Consort of Fower Parts
Hespèrion XX - Jordi Savall, dir.
Astrée (Auvidis) E 8519 [CD]
Astrée (Naïve) "Musica Britannica" ES 9921 [CD]


    Consort of Fower Parts

    Suite I in D minor

  1. Fantazie
  2. Courante
  3. Ayre
  4. Saraband
  5. Suite II in D Minor-Major

  6. Fantazie
  7. Courante
  8. Ayre
  9. Saraband
  10. Suite III in F Major

  11. Fantazie
  12. Courante
  13. Ayre
  14. Saraband
  15. Suite IV in F Major

  16. Fantazie
  17. Courante
  18. Ayre
  19. Saraband
  20. Suite V in G Minor

  21. Fantazie
  22. Courante
  23. Ayre
  24. Saraband
  25. Suite VI in G Major

  26. Fantazie
  27. Courante
  28. Ayre
  29. Saraband

Playing time: 60' 49"

Hespèrion XX:
Jordi Savall (soprano viol), Eunice Brandao (alto viol), Sergi Casademunt (tenor viol), Paolo Pandolfo (bass viol), Lorenz Duftschmid (violone), Andrew Lawrence-King (double harp, italian type), Michael Behringer (portative organ)
Jordi Savall, dir.

Recording site and date:
Colegiata del Castillo de Cardona (Cataluña) [06/1993];
Rel.: 03/08/1994 (E), 02/08/2000 (ES)

Astrée (Naïve) ES 9986 [CDx5] Jordi Savall: Pieces for the viols - Purcell, Dowland, Hume, Locke, Tye.

Reviewed in:
Diapason (#-p.): 404-132 (05/1994)
Early Music America (Vol./#-p.):
Fanfare (Vol./#-p.):
Goldberg (#-p.):
Gramophone (Vol./#-p.):

Information from CD.

Pierre-F. Roberge

Matthew Locke (1621-1677) was the most important composer of Restoration England, both in choral and instrumental music. This is especially true in chamber music, where aside from Jenkins (who, being a provincial musician, was largely unaffected by the changes of government), he was the only significant composer of chamber music between Lawes and Purcell.

Locke's style is essentially conservative, using received forms and traditional counterpoint. However, he added some continental influence in his choice of melodies and helped pave the way for Purcell (who followed him in his position as court composer). He was also technically proficient, and played an important role in ensuring that the earlier English instrumental style would not be completely lost during the Civil War.

The Consort of Fower (four) Parts (1660) is Locke's most interesting chamber composition from our modern perspective. It was one of the last substantial compositions written for viol consort in England (Purcell's fantasias being the last), and makes a fine summation to that genre, incorporating as it does the older contrapuntal style of the Renaissance with the new Baroque dances.

Other recordings:

Locke: Consort of Fower Parts
Fretwork / Nigel North / Paul Nicholson
Virgin Veritas 45142
Locke: Consort Music
Phantasm - Laurence Dreyfus
Global Music Network 0109
Locke: Consorts of Fower Parts
Flanders Recorder Quartet
Aeolus 10106
Locke: Consort Music
Orlando Gibbons Viol Ensemble
Alphée 9506045 (2 CDs)

The latter contains another cycle of suites for consort. Another recording including some songs:

A Magnifick Consort
Chamber Music & Songs by Matthew Locke
Rachel Platt / Concordia - Mark Levy
Dervorguilla 108

Locke also wrote a fairly large amount of chamber music for violins, The Broken Consort (1661) being by far the most substantial publication. A recording:

Locke: The Broken Consort
The Parley of Instruments - Peter Holman
Hyperion 66727 (English Orpheus, Vol. 26)

And a recording of keyboard music:

Locke: Complete Keyboard Works
Terence Charlston
Deux-Elles 1047

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Todd M. McComb