Related Reviews
Early Music America
'effortless yet engaged approach'
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Gramophone
'First-rate Linn Recording.'
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Musica Dei
'Their performances are technically brilliant and they play with much imagination and zest.'
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Klassik.com
4 Stars
'This recording is one of the absolute highlights of this year'
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Listen
'This is a luxuriant discovery.'
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Medieval Music & Arts Foundation
' the result is compelling, including passages as surprising as anything Lawes wrote'
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American Record Guide
'The performances here are excellent and the recorded sound rich and warm.'
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International Record Review
'the ideal ensemble for music so rich in dissonance, unwieldy counterpoint and innovative use of homophonic techniques.'
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Ensemble
'a treat'
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The Oxonian Review
'...one slips away into a phantasmal and lawless world'
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The Arts Desk
'... consistently astonishing'
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Musicweb International
'Marvels and masterpieces...'
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Baker and Taylor CD hotlist
'No early music collection should be without this recording'.
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cdhotlist.com
'The group that seems to be taking over as the world's preeminent viol consort.'
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Viola da Gamba Society of America
'a strong and fascinating approach'
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Pizzicato
4 Stars
'L'interprétation de Phantasm est très sensible et merveilleusement transparent au niveau de l'ensemble des violes.'
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BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Chamber Music Choice: 'The consort sound is luminescent...'
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Choir & Organ
5 Stars
'This is music that reveals more and more levels of sophisticated invention with repeated playing.'
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
'Their playing is revelatory. The recording properly intimate, warm and truthful, and it’s from Linn Records.'
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Audio Video Club of Atlanta
'played to perfection'
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Buffalo News
4½ Stars
'Phantasm shine a light wonderfully on this under served talent.'
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The Telegraph
5 Stars
'Phantasm...reveal[s] the composer's sonorous magic.'
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Early Music Review
'An absolute joy of a disc.'
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Klassiek
'Highly recommended for lovers of music for the viola da gamba!'
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Early Music Review
'Great music, stunningly played...'
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Musical Toronto
5 Stars
'Even so, most of this music is gorgeous, clear in its emotional content, amply conveyed in the beauty that emanates from this lucky pairing of composer and interpreters.'
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Musicweb International
'If anything, the new Phantasm recording is even better than anything they have already done.'
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InfoDad.com
4 Stars
'The members and guests of the ensemble Phantasm take great delight in bringing this music back to life...'
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Words & Music
4 Stars
'Phantasm's disc is an excellent shot.'
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AllMusic.com
4 Stars
'strongly recommended'
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The Observer
'This internationally acclaimed viol ensemble, with organist Daniel Hyde, bring all to shadowy life, the immediacy and intimacy captured expertly by the Linn engineers. Give this music your full attention - and be astonished.'
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The Sunday Times
'These two beautifully performed sets of fantasies...are full of suave angularities and delicious dissonances, captivating for liveliness and melancholy alike.'
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BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
‘...William Lawes whose harmonic baring is beautifully laid bare in these bold and theatrical performances from Phantasm with the plaintively seductive sound of Laurence Dreyfus's treble viol on top of the texture; Daniel Hyde's chamber organ doubling and underpinning that strangely shifting sound world.'
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Irish Times
5 Stars
'Phantasm's sympathetic performances should win new friends for this sometimes almost bewildering music.'
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Phantasm - William Lawes - Audiophile Audition


06 July 2012
Audiophile Audition
Steven Ritter
4 Stars

Salisbury native William Lawes (1602 - 1645) was born into a very musical family; both father Thomas (vicar choral at the Salisbury Cathedral) and brother Henry (composer) successful in the same field as well. When Charles I took the throne William was appointed "musician in ordinary" for the King's "lutes, viols, and voices" in 1635, and the composer was to know only one employer his whole life.

His most notable music was the large number of viol consort pieces, works that astound by their complexity and vigorously bold thematic content. None are more jaw-dropping than the set of nine suites called Consorts to the Organ, a group of pieces most likely devised in the more insular settings of the King's privacy as opposed to the more public-and critical-areas of entertainments and banquets. He liked to shock with disjointed and angular melodies, and expresses his dissonances in a manner that are not resolved in classical ways-if even at all. The music does not have that immediate appeal that so much other viol music from the time possesses, and it take some listening to appreciate the greatness of Lawes's conception.

This is, as far as I can tell, the first Super Audio recording of any of these pieces, and the spacious and wide-ranging placement of the instruments serves the music well. Phantasm has already graced these pages in a review I did of Byrd's complete consort music and I hear nothing but maintenance of those high standards on this disc as well.  Beautifully done, this weird, wild, and rewarding music.


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William Lawes: Consorts to the OrganWilliam Lawes: Consorts to the Organ