Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols

Henry Purcell
Fantasias for the Viols (1680)
Hespèrion XX - Jordi Savall, dir.
Astrée (Auvidis) E 8536 [CD]
Fontalis (Auvidis) ES 8536 [CD]
Astrée (Naïve) "Musica Britannica" ES 9922 [CD]
Alia Vox AVSA 9859 [SACD-H]


    Fantasias for the Viols (1680)


  1. Fantasia upon one note
  2. Three Fantasias in Three Parts

  3. Fantasia I
  4. Fantasia II
  5. Fantasia III
  6. Three Fantasias in Four Parts

  7. Fantasia IV (June 10 1680)
  8. Fantasia V (June 11 1680)
  9. Fantasia VI (June 14 1680)
  10. In Nomine

  11. In Nomine in Six Parts
  12. Three Fantasias in Four Parts

  13. Fantasia VII (June 19 1680)
  14. Fantasia VIII (June 22 1680)
  15. Fantasia IX (June 23 1680)
  16. Three Fantasias in Four Parts

  17. Fantasia X (June 30 1680)
  18. Fantasia XI (August 19 1680)
  19. Fantasia XII (August 31 1680)
  20. In Nomine

  21. In Nomine in Seven Parts

Playing time: 54' 11"

Hespèrion XX
Jordi Savall (treble viol), Wieland Kuijken (bass viol), Sophie Watillon (alto viol), Eunice Brandao (tenor viol), Sergi Casademunt (tenor viol), Marianne Müller (bass viol), Philippe Pierlot (bass viol)
Jordi Savall, dir.

Recording site and date:
Colegiata del Castillo de Cardona (Cataluña) [10/1994];
Rel.: 1995 (Auvidis), 2002 (Naïve). 2008 (Alia Vox)

[2] Naïve (Auvidis) "Special" AS 1 29002 [CD] Shakespeare et la Musique Anglaise - Shakespeare and English Music

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

Reviewed in:
Fanfare (Vol./#-p.): 32/3-229 (Jan/Feb 2009)

Information from CD.
There is some confusion about the the label number. Bn-Opale plus list two recordings under label number « Astrée (Auvidis) E 8536 »; the other being "Claude Debussy: Intégrale de l'oeuvre pour piano 3, by Philippe Cassard"

Pierre-F. Roberge

Purcell's fantasias are relatively early works, apparently written largely as contrapuntal studies. Unlike the sonatas, they were never intended for publication, but they do represent some of the most complex music written for viol consort. By Purcell's time, music of this type was no longer a living tradition, and in fact his In Nomines were the last examples written before the 20th century.

Some other recordings:

Purcell: Fantazias & In Nomines
Virgin Veritas 45062
Purcell: Complete Fantasias for Viols
Phantasm - Laurence Dreyfus
Simax 1124
Purcell: Fantazias
Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot
Mirare 012
Purcell: Fantasias for viols
Rose Consort
Naxos 8.553957
Purcell: 15 Fantasien
La Gamba Freiburg - Ekkehard Weber
Ars Musici 1135
Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols
Accademia Strumentale Italiana - Alberto Rasi
Stradivarius 33357
Purcell: The Fantasias for Viols
Concentus musicus Wien - Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Vanguard 8091
Purcell: Fantazias
London Baroque
Bis 1165

Recorder programs featuring Purcell fantazias:

Purcell: Fantazia
Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet
Channel Classics 16998
Purcell: Phantasies, Ayres & Chaconys
The Flautadors
Deux-Elles 1123

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Todd M. McComb