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John Ward - Phantasm - The Observer


06 September 2009
The Observer
Nicholas Kenyon

Unlike Purcell's intricately contrapuntal viol fantasias, these beautifully flowing pieces from a generation earlier sound almost like vocal music transcribed for instruments (some even have Italian texts as titles). In the warmly resonant playing of Phantasm they emerge, as director Laurence Dreyfus characterises them, as madrigals which revel in harmonic shifts, interrupted cadences and delayed resolutions. The richly sustained performances - have you ever heard so much vibrato from a viol consort? - make a fine case for a neglected composer who was worried that his music might "prove distasteful with the queasy pallated".
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John Ward: Consort music for five and six violsJohn Ward: Consort music for five and six viols