LOCKE Consorts Flat and Sharp

Locke: Consorts Flat and Sharp
Locke, Matthew (c.1622-77)
Phantasm / Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo)

This disc completes the suites ‘for my cousin Kemble’ begun on Phantasm’s previous Matthew Locke recording (CD 594) and twins them with suites from Locke’s ‘Little Consort’ (1656) which call for for a combination of three viols and chordal bass instrument - hence this pleasing partnership with Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo).

Two suites in particular caught my attention and so I begin with an old favourite, the Little Consort suite No.10 in D. Being a long-time fan of Fretwork it bears obvious comparison with their recent release reviewed in January by Mark Seow (Signum SIGCD728). The differences are striking: whereas I find Fretwork to be nimble, deft and detailed - qualities I always admire in their playing - Phantasm are noticeably more demonstrative, being lead with flair from the treble viol by director, Laurence Dreyfus, they lean into Locke’s frequent eccentricities with broad and convincing phrasing. Take for instance the start of the Courant, a gentle pa-ta-pam in Fretwork’s performance is a more tempting thrum with Phantasm, and whereas Fretwork indulge only the second of the two the curlicue closing phrases Phantasm slow up both times in a rhetorical flourish.

[...] This is a bold and beautiful recording of bold and beautiful music.

for the full text of this review please click here: Gramophone March 2024


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