This is the fourth and last in Trio Settecento’s European Tour which has taken in sojourns in Italy, Germany and France. It’s now the turn of Albion to host the American trio in an album that explores English Fancy via the music of Byrd, Tobias Hume, William Lawes, John Jenkins, Christopher Simpson, Thomas Baltzar, Locke, and Purcell.
Rachel Barton Pine plays on a replica of a Renaissance violin where the neck and fingerboard are shorter than later models. It’s held on the arm, not the shoulder, which was a novelty for her but one to which she eventually got used. A = 440 is used in these recordings though the group usually plays at A = 415. Byrd’s Sellinger’s Rownde
(or Sellenger’s Rownde
) heard in an arrangement by the trio and it sounds, as intended, as an attractive consort opener, though cleverly it retains its keyboard origins via some extended passages for David Schrader’s harpsichord. Tobias Hume’s Captain Hume’s Lamentation
was written for an instrument popular at the time, the lyra viol, and continuo. Its transformation here is done with expressive intensity, as befits the rather desolate feelings evoked. It is inevitable that William Lawes should be explored in a disc of this kind. His well-known Fantazia
receives a fine performance, as do the two brief companion works by him. John Jenkins was a less personalised composer than Lawes but one still very much worth getting to know. His own Fantasia
is less complex than Lawes’ but it is more obviously refined. The three Jenkins pieces are particularly well-chosen in the interests of maximal contrast.
A less-remembered composer is Christopher Simpson whose The Little Consort
Suite in G minor offers seven very brief dance movements. Composed for treble viol or violin, lyra viol and basso, this is in point of fact something of a composite performance with pieces taken from both books of Simpson’s consort music. But this enables us to hear the fluid Pavan
, a fleet Saraband
and a delightful sequence of deftly performed miniatures. Published in 1684, long after he had died, Baltzar’s John Come Kiss me now
has been adapted by Barton Pine to play in the high positions of her instrument. The ingenious series of variations on the song are resourcefully performed and prove highly diverting. Matthew Locke’s brief dances from For Several Friends,
the Suite in B flat Major, fly by though things slow a little for the Purcell sequence, of which the Hornpipe from Abdelazar
– ‘Hole in the Wall’
is another arrangement by members of the trio.
This delightfully played recital, very well recorded in Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, will appeal strongly to those who have followed the trio’s earlier European jaunts.
Previous review: Gary