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Theatre of the Ayre - The Masque of Moments - The Observer


19 February 2017
The Observer
Nicholas Kenyon

"Music enabled the masque to be the place where fantasy and reality meet," writes lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, introducing early 17th-century ayres and dances. It's always tricky to create spontaneity on disc, and this collection aims to demonstrate the earthy elements of the songs in preference to the courtly context usually assumed. So perhaps it should have been recorded in a tavern with a live audience rather than a church as studio: the boozy numbers sound a little stranded here. But there are exquisite sounds from Kenny's plucked-instrument ensemble, and beautiful numbers from masques by Henry and William Lawes, Coperario, Locke and others, with nicely refined singing.
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