One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

John JENKINS (1592-1678)
Fantasias, Pavans and Airs in four parts
Track listing below review
The Spirit of Gambo
rec. June 2012, Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem
MUSICA FICTA MF8019 [60:27]

This isn’t the first time that this ensemble has recorded the music of John Jenkins. Their 2011 disc devoted to his consort music in four parts was released on MF8011, and now they return to him, this strange-sounding band whose name sounds like a Victorian illusionist or a tribute act. The ensemble is five strong and flexible, and two of the players double, thus they play two treble viols, two tenor, and two bass, in varying combinations, with organ. They sound supremely attuned to Jenkins’s aesthetic, which is predicated on flowing expressive lines and an elegance of counterpoint. It's quite unlike the music of his more abrasive and avant-garde near-contemporary William Lawes.

Half the programme consists of a well-programmed sequence of Fantasias whilst there are also three Airs and three Pavans, and a single Galliard. Two things are especially noticeable about the performances. Firstly, the tempi are entirely natural-sounding, flowing but never rushed, and ensuring that articulation is precise but never fussy. Second, one notices the rich consort sound which is, to a large extent, due to the timbre of their instruments, made by Gesina Liedmeier. They and the bows are based on appropriately seventeenth-century models. I should also add that the excellence of the instrumentalists is, obviously, a significant factor too. Jenkins’s Fantasias are gracious and refined, but also show elements of prevailing melancholy – such as in Fantasia XXVI – and a judicious employment of counterpoint. The settings in which the organ is employed – and there are six altogether in a recital of fourteen pieces – are the most interior. The Pavan XXVII is a particularly good example of Jenkins’s discreetly plangent expression, never as doleful as Dowland, never as experimental as Lawes, but charting his own balanced course. Programmatically it makes sense to follow it with the more ebullient side of his musical character, richly reflected in the Fantasia XV, in C.

You can gauge how sympathetic you will be to the sound-world produced by The Spirit of Gambo in a piece such as Pavan IX, where the expressive lower two bass viol voices are contrasted with the more limpid treble viol. This lends distinction throughout, not least to the noble gravity and timeless quality enshrined in the Pavan in D, one of the most magnificent of the settings in this programme.

These first-class performances have been sensitively recorded in the Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, a frequent venue for early music. In every way this ensemble, with its odd name, is turning out outstandingly good discs.

Jonathan Woolf

Track listing
Fantasia VI [3:16]
Fantasia XXVI [3:25]
Fantasia X [5:08]
Air XIII [3:13]
Pavan XXVII [7:09]
Fantasia XV [2:50]
Air I [4:08]
Pavan IX [6:22]
Galliard XXIV [2:20]
Pavan I [5:53]
Fantasia XXX1 [3:56]
Air II [3:59]
Fantasia XV11 [3:55]