Jenkins: Four-Part Consorts

Jenkins: Consort Music of Four Parts
The Spirit of Gambo
1: Musica Ficta 8011
2: Musica Ficta 8019

Jenkins' 4-part consorts are his most immediately striking, in terms of balance between new & old. They don't take up the new formats of Italian chamber music, or anything of that sort, but they are also the most extensive English output in four equal parts. The relatively sparse textures, as compared to the 5-part consorts, contribute to the feel of modernity, while retaining the balanced texture of four instruments of the same family. There doesn't seem to have been any subsequent development of this style, unless one tries to point to the classical string quartet (or includes Purcell, which I don't).

This is the second recording devoted entirely to Jenkins 4-part consorts, so the material has received some deserved attention. This performance is outstanding, as standards in consort music continue to advance, in this case by an ensemble not based in England. There is both wonderful phrasing and wonderful tonal balance here, making this a very attractive performance & recording. (One of the members also makes the instruments, giving their consort playing a distinctive sound.) With continued improvement in consort technique, both individually and in terms of ensemble, new recordings of the classics do continue to be worthwhile.

I wrote the above two paragraphs for the first volume of this music. The ensemble has managed to find enough to make a second program, although some of this includes e.g. organ and/or dances.... The material is not, overall, as compelling as the on the first volume, but the two do make a nice pair. So I've added the second album to this listing as well.

To instrumental list.

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 27 May 2019