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Early Music America
'effortless yet engaged approach'
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'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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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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'This is a luxuriant discovery.'
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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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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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Viola da Gamba Society of America
'a strong and fascinating approach'
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4 Stars
'L'interprétation de Phantasm est très sensible et merveilleusement transparent au niveau de l'ensemble des violes.'
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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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'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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Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
'Beautifully done'
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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 - Words & Music


17 July 2012
Words & Music
Rick Jones
4 Stars

A 1634 poem about tennis - ‘The world I sample to a Tennis-court / Where fate and fortune daily meet to play' - might have inspired the Fantasy in C major here, thinks Laurence Dreyfus, Director of Phantasm, with little evidence. He just wants to quote it: ‘All manner chance, are Rackets, wherewithall / They bandie men like balls from wall to wall'. And why not? The parts ping against the barlines in bouncing syncopations or float mournfully out on serene long notes as if in slow-motion replay. The plaintive whine of the gut strung instruments is analagous to the toiling swing of the gut-strung rackets. Seven suites or ‘Sets' are included, some for five viols, some for six, all including a discreet organ which mostly doubles, but occasionally pokes its pipes into play independently like a voluble line-judge. Frequent dissonances wince like a netted serve. The counterpoint flows with unhurried, stately confidence. The movements are Fantazias, Aires, Pavens or In Nomines, one of them, ‘On a Playnsong', disappointingly shy of making the spurious cantus firmus tell. Elsewhere the balance is finely judged, the sound drily imperious. Lawes was a Royalist and friend of the King. His music, like tennis, was a court entertainment. Phantasm's disc is an excellent shot.


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