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Phantasm - Ward: Consort music for five and six viols - BBC Radio 3 CD Review


19 September 2009
BBC Radio 3 CD Review
Andrew MacGregor

One of the leading lights of Jacobean Consort Music for viols: John Ward, who managed to earn the admiration and respect of his peers without the benefit of a church or court appointment.  Laurence Dreyfus's viol consort Phantasm has just released the first complete recording of Ward's consort music for five and six viols, and he calls them "magisterial; works which seduce the ear into a dream of lyrical temptation and wistful longing".  Well they do when they're played as well as this.'

Two six-part fantasias by John Ward, in peformances from Phantasm that capture everything Laurence Dreyfus promises in his notes.  And, presented like this, with all of Ward's 5 and 6 part fantasias together so that we can immerse ourselves in their gently sophisticated charms we can really begin to appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship, and the subtle intensity of the writing.  Playing of real eloquence as well and a recording that frames it to perfection, it's a new one from Linn Records, as a Hybrid SACD or as a digital download from the label's website.


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