Reissued in Virgin Veritas Edition 562001
Performers: Wendy Gillespie, Richard Campbell, Julia Hodgson, Susanna Pell, William Hunt, Richard Boothby, Paul Nicholson (organ)
Playing time: 70'
Recording date: February 1990
William Lawes (1602-1645) was one of the most creative and sophisticated composers of consort music. An analogy has been made between him and Beethoven, for the unprecedented innovative elements he brought to the instrumental styles of the time. This includes jarring angular themes, and bold harmonic schemes carried off with ease. Lawes' genius had the potential for initiating a classical instrumental tradition before its time, but this was not to come to fruition due to the onset of the English Civil War and the resulting brevity of his life. Lawes is a composer who could easily appeal to a much wider audience than is currently aware of his music.
Lawes was a student of Coprario, and adopts his ideas on scoring and use of the suite. However, this influence quickly ends as Lawes' creativity takes over. The Consort Setts on the current recording provide a thorough survey of the form & ideas he uses in this genre, and represent his most serious compositional style. In these suites, he not only uses new ideas on the arrangement of movements, but incorporates older themes and forms (Lachrimae, track #10; In Nomine, track #19) into this context. These are some of the most interesting & comprehensive instrumental works of the era.
Lawes also wrote dozens of divisions (variations) and lyra consorts of smaller scope, but of equal facility.
The next release from Fretwork, including some songs:
Other major viol consort recordings:
A recording concentrating on a particular sub-repertory:
And a recording devoted entirely to songs:
Finally, a viol recording devoted to Lawes' contemporary Christopher Simpson (c.1605-1669), focusing on the division genre:
To purchasing information for this disc.
To FAQ references to this recording.
To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb