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Irish Times
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Phantasm - William Lawes - CD Review


18 August 2012
BBC Radio 3 'CD Review'
Andrew McGregor

I really wanted to give you the chance to hear one of my favourite new discs of early music from the last few weeks: Consorts to the Organ by William Lawes with the viol consort Phantasm and the organist Daniel Hyde.  Lawes composed them when he was working as one of Charles I's court musicians in the 1630s, intended perhaps for the King's privy apartments which allowed Lawes to let his imagination to run free.  As Phantasm's founder and treble violist Laurence Dreyfus tells us in the notes: ‘No amount of historical study prepares you for the originality and daring of Lawes' constantly shifting harmonic universe.  A topsy-turvy world' Dreyfus calls it, when you begin to hear in every piece an undiscoverable place which hadn't been mapped before.  Try the C minor set, which has an extraordinary opening Fantazia even by Lawes' standard, then an Aire followed by a five part Paven that Dreyfus calls ‘Lawes' masterpiece' and a final Aire.

The harmonically challenging and peculiarly beautiful world of William Lawes at his most daring and imaginative. That was his C minor set from his seven sets for organ, performed by Laurence Dreyfus' viol consort Phantasm with chamber organ played by Daniel Hyde. Their playing is revelatory. The recording properly intimate, warm and truthful, and it's from Linn Records.  


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