Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


William LAWES (1602-1645)
‘Knock’d on the head – Music for Viols’

Consort Sett a 6 in F [11:09]
Lyra viol trio in d minor [09:55]
Hark jolly lads, catch a 3 [02:02]
Come my lads, catch a 3 [01:14]
Consort Sett a 6 in g minor [13:13]
Whither go ye, catch a 3 [02:24]
The wise men were but seven, catch a 3 [01:24]
Lyra viol trio in D [06:51]
Consort Sett a 6 in B flat [10:37]
Mark Levy, treble viol, lyra viol and director; Veli-Markus Tapio, treble viol, lyra viol; Joanna Levine, tenor viol, lyra viol; Emilia Benjamin, tenor viol; Reiko Ichise, Alison McGillivray, bass viol; Gary Cooper, organ
Recorded in September 2001 in Orford Church, Suffolk, England. DDD
METRONOME MET CD 1045 [59:02]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.


William Lawes was one of the main composers in England in the first half of the 17th century. He was held in very high esteem by King Charles I, himself a great lover and connoisseur of the arts. But it was the King himself who was ultimately responsible for the premature death of this great composer. As Mark Levy writes in the lines notes: "Not one content to fiddle at home, since after all he was more used to performing for one of the greatest monarchs in Europe, he chose to fight and was duly knock’d on the head in one of the last and most disastrous royalist manoeuvres, shot in the massacre at Rowton Heath on 24 September 1645, as the King watched from his vantage point atop the old city wall of Chester."

The fact that Lawes chose to fight, although he didn’t have to, is an indication of the close relationship between the composer and the king, but also tells us something about Lawes’ character – stubborn and recalcitrant - which is reflected in his music for viol consort. If there is anything that strikes in the pieces recorded here, it is Lawes’ unconventional musical language. This recording brings together three of the ‘Consort Setts’ in 6 parts. These are basically suites, whose main sections are the ‘fantazies’, where we meet Lawes at his most unconventional. The strange and uncommon harmonies in some of these ‘fantazies’ are quite astonishing. The second ‘fantazy’ of the Consort Sett in F ends – after a sudden general pause – with a harmonic progression which can only be compared to the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo.

Sample 1 Track 3 02:20

And the ‘fantazy’ from the Consort Sett in g minor lacks any harmonic pattern, wavering from the conventional to the highly unusual and unexpected.

Sample 2 Track 11 02:00

The first ‘fantazy’ from the Consort Sett in F reflects Lawes the composer of theatre music: it starts quietly, but becomes more and more passionate, and then returns to the tranquillity of the beginning.

This recording also contains all extant pieces for the ‘lyra viol’. "The lyra viol was a small bass viol which could be used in a huge variety of chordal tunings; its music was consequently notated in tablature so the player would always know where to put his fingers, whatever unlikely notes the strings were tuned to" (Mark Levy). Most music for the lyra viol was somewhat lighter in nature than music for the ‘normal’ viol. Although some music Lawes wrote belongs to that category, like ‘Humor’ from the Lyra viol trio in D,

Sample 3 Track 16 00:00

Even here Lawes breaks the rules by composing more serious works as well. To compensate for the lack of music for lyra viols by Lawes, Mark Levy has transcribed some of Lawes’ catches for three lyra viols. They were originally composed for three male voices to be sung in the tavern. The texts of these catches have been lost, so this is the only way they can be performed, and they do quite well in this form.

I have nothing but praise for this recording. This is simply great music, reflecting a very strong and intriguing musical personality. The ensemble playing is immaculate, the tone crisp and clear, and the full dynamic range of the instruments is exploited. The interpretation is dramatic where needed, or light-hearted when the music asks for relaxation. Strongly recommended.

Johan van Veen

CD Price: £ 13.50 Post-free Air Mail World-wide
- Download Price:
£ 8.30
Buy CD:
Download all tracks:

(minimum 30 secs)
Click on the appropriate link. On the next page click on broadband beneath the CD cover

View track details:
Consort Sett a6 in F Major
Consort Sett a6 in F Major
Consort Sett a6 in F Major
Consort Sett a6 in F Major
Lyra viol trio in D Minor
Lyra viol trio in D Minor
Lyra viol trio in D Minor
CDTnº10 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in G Minor
CDTnº11 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in G Minor
CDTnº12 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in G Minor
CDTnº13 - W. LAWES
CDTnº14 - W. LAWES
CDTnº15 - W. LAWES
Lyra viol trio in D Major
CDTnº16 - W. LAWES
Lyra viol trio in D Major
CDTnº17 - W. LAWES
Lyra viol trio in D Major
CDTnº18 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in B flat Major
CDTnº19 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in B flat Major
CDTnº20 - W. LAWES
Consort Sett a6 in B flat Major

You require QuickTime to listed to samples.

Get a free QuickTime download here

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • You can sample only 30 seconds (or 15% if that is longer) of a given track. Select from the View tracks list. Each sample will normally start from the beginning but you can drag the slider to any position before pressing play. • PLEASE NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and the sound is prematurely terminated you may need to register Ludwig as a trusted source with your firewall software. •You will need Quicktime to hear sound samples. Get a free Quicktime download here • If you cannot see the "Sample All Tracks" button you need to download Flash from here.

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.