Lawes: Royal Consort

Lawes: The Royal Consort
w/ Three Consorts to the Organ
Phantasm - Laurence Dreyfus
Linn Records 470 (2 CDs)

Part of this double CD is a continuation of this ensemble's previous program, evidently including the similar music that did not fit on that single CD. Most of this double album consists of the "royal consorts" (subsequently named during the civil war) for 4 viols (2 trebles, tenor, bass) & theorbo — as opposed to the somewhat more extended version fronted by two violins. The liner notes argue that neither version should be considered primary, or perhaps even that the viol version should be, and indeed this seems to reflect a general mixing of viol & violin writing in Lawes' output as a whole.

As with the previous recording, the interpretations bring this quirky music vividly to life. The dances create their own strange world. There is nothing else quite like it, and this music continues to make for enjoyable — although perhaps not engrossing — listening.

To instrumental list

Todd M. McComb