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William Lawes: Consort Sets In Five & Six Parts

Hespèrion XXI & Jordi Savall

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Customer Reviews

Life changing performance of life changing music

First, the music itself: Out of all the polyphonic music I have listened to, Lawes consort music is a high-water mark--in originality, expression, technical mastery. Everywhere there are crystal clear, sparkling ideas, and expressive idiosyncrasies. Everywhere is his astonishing contrapuntal mastery on display in the rigorous canonic imitation and technical devices. Where is Lawes in our classes, in our conservatories? Who is William Lawes to the very people--musicians and composers--who should appreciate him most? A no-one, a vague early music cypher like many composers of genius pre-18th century. Suffice it to say that this is music that cries out to be heard. It moves in wondrous pattern and "gallant" rhythm, exactly, somehow--trite though it may seem to say so--like the mercurial youth seen in the portrait. This expression is also due to the extraordinary performance, to which I will now turn.

Hesperion and Jordi Savall have given me so much delight over the years. They are one of the chosen groups that perform this music to whom a lifeless, mannered, or stilted performance is as impossible as a performance of the music of Elton John. What a waste words are when one can simply listen to them! The rhythmic vitality, expressive depths, and true heart of this music are unsurpassably conveyed by this group. Other discs I personally love are the Matthew Locke consort in Fower Parts (another astonishingly original composer) and Purcell's viol consorts (which rank among the finest music ever written). Bottom line, lovers of polyphonic music will likely experience a revelation with this composer and this performance; to the curious, the brilliance of this music will likely have an almost defiant character, as it did for me, challenging you with it's brilliance and intensity, and ultimately forcing you to contend with the notions we have of the patterns great music must follow.

William Lawes: Consort Sets In Five & Six Parts, Hespèrion XXI
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  • $19.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 2002

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