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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger



RECORDING OF THE MONTH

 

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Matthew LOCKE (c.1622-1677)
Complete Keyboard Works
Prelude,

Saraband,
Suite in C,
Suite in G minor,
Suite in C,
Suite in D
Horne pipe from Suite in D minor

7 pieces for the organ (Melothesia 1673).
The Cimmerians' Dance,
An Antic Dance,
Alman in G,
Saraband in G,
Ayre in F major,
Saraband in F,
Ayre in C,

Saraband in C, (Musicks Hand-maide 1663/1678).
Almand for the violl in D minor,
An Entry in F for the harpsichord (Present Practice of Musick vindicated 1673).
Almand in G,
Pavan in D minor,
Corant in A minor,
Ape’s Dance,
The Bondman’s Dance
Ground in D,

Prelude and Voluntary for organ (Manuscript sources).
William GREGORY (1651-1687)

Almain, Corant and Saraband from Suite in D minor (Melothesia 1673).
Terence Charlston (harpsichord, virginals and organ)
Recorded at St.Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, September 2001 and Trinity Collage Chapel, Cambridge, December 2001. DDD
DEUX-ELLES DXL 1047 [74:00]



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This disc from Deux-Elles is sheer proof that the harpsichord, virginals and the organ are most expressive instruments and these works from Matthew Locke show their high status in the field of seventeenth century keyboard music. The talented Lancastrian, Terence Charlston, effortlessly achieves real spirit and soul to this recital and will win many new followers for composer Matthew Locke.

A leading English composer of the mid-seventeenth century, the Exeter born Matthew Locke wrote numerous and varied published works mainly consisting of sacred and secular choral music. As a young man Locke was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral under Edward Gibbons and in 1661 was appointed as ’Composer in Ordinary to the King (Charles II)’ and later received other prestigious Court honours including ’Organist to the Queen’.

In 1648 Locke visited the Low Countries and was clearly influenced by the range of music that he came across. Following the example of the King, who had been in exile abroad, Locke developed a taste for French dances. Much of Locke’s musical output which he wrote for projects outside the Royal Court is lost, although a significant number of works remain including his complete keyboard works which are included on this release.

Locke’s surviving body of keyboard music consists mainly of dance suites for everyday use and a smaller number of organ voluntaries. The largest amount of Locke’s keyboard works are contained in his book Melothesia (or, ‘the setting of Melody‘) published in 1673 although several other sources are included, as was the practice of the time. Locke included the works of other composers in Melothesia and Charleston has incorporated three keyboard pieces by William Gregory to place the suite in its proper context. Locke’s music wouldn’t fill a dance floor with gyrating bodies yet there is a consistent and impressive rhythmic momentum that gives a genuine kudos to these impressive compositions.

Charleston’s well chosen modern copies of single manual Italian and a double manual Flemish harpsichords, English virginals by David Law and the refurbished organ of Trinity College, Cambridge are exceptionally presented and warmed-toned, offering a pleasant and realistic sound and a most satisfying listening experience. The booklet notes by soloist Terence Charleston are most comprehensive and informative and include some technical information on the instruments which may interest some listeners.

Charleston’s secure playing is clear and even-toned with sensitive phrasing and dynamics, admirably nurturing the individual character of the works. I have not previously heard Charleston on disc and his playing is of the highest quality. These performances could hardly be bettered and this release from Deux-Elles is one to be treasured.

Michael Cookson

 



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