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John Ward - Phantasm - The Scotsman


21 September 2009
The Scotsman
Kenneth Walton

Linn's fine body of early music recordings continues with a disc dedicated to John Ward; a composer who, in historical terms, lived under the shadow of Orlando Gibbons and the older William Byrd. The relative plainness of his viol consort music is honestly acknowledged in the helpful sleeve notes. Nonetheless, these luxuriant, pure-grained performances of Ward's numerous "Fantasias" by the ensemble Phantasm are genuinely pleasant, quite audacious in certain cases, but ultimately, I would imagine, the Jacobean equivalent of easy listening. Bottom line? Quality playing lifts these works to a point where they peak successfully above the ordinary.
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John Ward: Consort music for five and six violsJohn Ward: Consort music for five and six viols