Lockerbie Memorial Concert


Lockerbie Memorial Concert | 2003

GB Records BCGBCD03

Recorded live at Westminster Cathedral, London, December 21st 1998

Recording Engineer: Bob Burnell

Mastered by Don C Tyler, Precision Mastering, Hollywood, California

Designed by Anna Tchernakova

Produced by Gavin Bryars

Executive Producers: Gavin Bryars, Anna Tchernakova

Special thanks: Monsignor George Stack, James O'Donnell, Barry Palmer, Jane Quinn, Martin and Rita Cadman, Hilliard Ensemble, Fretwork



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Tracks:

1. Busnois: In Hydraulis (Hilliard Ensemble) 7.31
2. Bryars: Incipit Vita Nova (David James, Fretwork*) 5.44
3. Purcell: 6-Part In Nomine (Fretwork) 2.34
4 Bryars: In Nomine (after Purcell) (Fretwork) 8.51
5. Gombert: Salve Regina/ Diversi diversa orant (Hilliard Ensemble) 8.27
6. Bryars: "Stormy" (from First Book of Madrigals) (Hilliard Ensemble**) 3.08
7. Bryars: "Web" (from First Book of Madrigals) (Hilliard Ensemble) 3.14
8. Bryars: "Almond Tree" (from First Book of Madrigals) (Hilliard Ensemble**) 2.51
9. Jenkins: 6-part Pavane in F (Fretwork) 6.40
(10-14) Bryars: Cadman Requiem (Hilliard Ensemble, Fretwork)
10. "Requiem" 9.29
11. "Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede)" (tenor solo John Potter) 2.59
12. "Agnus Dei" 5.02
13. "Caedmon's Creation Hymn" (baritone solo Gordon Jones) 2.17
14. "In Paradisum" 6.12
Total running time 74.59


Performers:

Hilliard Ensemble:
David James, alto
Steven Harrold, tenor
John Potter, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone
Fretwork:
Richard Campbell, treble viols
Wendy Gillespie, treble viols
Julia Hodgson, tenor viols
Susanna Pell, tenor viols
Richard Boothby, bass viol
William Hunt, bass viol/ great bass


Play Tracks:

  1. Incipit Vita Nova


Note : Lockerbie Memorial Concert

Lockerbie Memorial Concert

Gavin Bryars was deeply affected by the death of his friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, killed in the Lockerbie tragedy aged only 32, and felt compelled to write a work - Cadman Requiem - in Bill's memory.

This forms the final work in this live recording, from a free concert for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, given in Westminster Cathedral in December 1998, in memory of all 270 people who died, attended by a very large audience, including relatives of the victims.

The programme, devised by Bryars, with the help of John Potter (Hilliard Ensemble) and Richard Campbell (Fretwork), consists of works he had written for both the Hilliard Ensemble and Fretwork along with pieces of early music (Busnois, Gombert, Purcell, Jenkins).

This was the first time that the Hilliard Ensemble and Fretwork had performed together in a live concert.

Two of the works were written almost simultaneously in 1989. These were Cadman Requiem and Incipit Vita Nova to celebrate the birth of the first child (Vita) of two of Bryars' friends, here in special arrangements of these two works with viol consort. Also given their first performances were a group of madrigals, setting poems by Bryars' librettist Blake Morrison, which were written specially for this occasion, commissioned by the Cadman family.

Note : Busnois: In Hydraulis

Busnois: In Hydraulis

Little is known about Antoine Busnois' (c1430-1492) early life, but he probably studied in Paris with Johannes Ockeghem. In Hydraulis, Busnois' homage to the older composer, certainly dates from before 1467 and he would almost certainly have encountered Ockeghem, who became a canon of Notre Dame  in 1463. It is possible that Busnois wrote this motet as a farewell to his mentor. It is in two parts, the first giving a semi-mythical explanation of ancient music as perfected by Pythagoras,  the second implicitly adding Ockeghem ('true image of Orpheus') to the musical pantheon and adding a fond farewell from the precocious Busnois. The work has an ingenious three-note tenor, not texted but to which one can sing the name Ockeghem which then recurs throughout the piece, while around it swirls some of the most elaborate Franco-Flemish counterpoint. (JP)

 

 

Note : Bryars: Incipit Vita Nova (1989)

Bryars: Incipit Vita Nova (1989)

Incipit Vita Nova is for male alto and string trio (here viols) and sets those short phrases that appear in Latin rather than Italian in Dante's La Vita Nuova. It was written in February 1989 to celebrate the birth of Vita, the first child of my friends Erica and Robert Hewison. I had decided to write the piece long before the birth but did not start until I knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl - and the baby's name ("Vita"). At first I looked for all uses of the word "Vita" (life) among Pico della Mirandola's Conclusiones  (having already set Pico for Glorious Hill, my first piece for the Hilliard in 1988) and eventually added one of these sentences ("Omnis vita est immortalis") as the penultimate line of the text, while working on La Vita Nuova ("New Life") as the main source. The first performance was given by David James at St. Mary de Castro Church in Leicester on 1 April 1989, and shortly afterwards was performed with the first performances of Cadman Requiem in Lyon and Marseilles.

The piece is dedicated to Vita, Erica and Robert Hewison. (GB)

 

 

Note : Purcell: 6-part In Nomine

Purcell: 6-part In Nomine

By the time Henry Purcell came to write what must be the last significant examples of 'In nomines' before the modern era it is likely that the original link between the words 'in nomine (Domini)' from the Benedictus of the Latin Mass and the beautiful 'Gloria tibi Trinitas' plainchant, around which all 'In nomines' were composed, had been forgotten. The 'in nomine' section of John Taverner's Mass transferred to viols was early recognised as a jewel worth imitating and so the notes of the chant found their way incognito, as a compositional template for devising instrumental polyphony, past all persecutions of the 'old faith'. The young Purcell seems to be paying private tribute in this most concise and elegiac of 'In nomines'. (RC)

 

Note : Bryars: In Nomine (After Purcell) (1997)

Bryars: In Nomine (After Purcell) (1997)

There were several factors which attracted me to write a piece for Fretwork based on Purcell's In Nomine. Not least was my interest in writing for strings and particularly for families of string instruments. The homogeneous blend of the 6-part consort, with its three pairs of viols, is a sound that I have enjoyed for some time.
Another relates to my interest in music which refers to other music or to other musical values. I have written pieces for other 'early music specialists' such as the Hilliard Ensemble, for example, where I incorporate vocal and ensemble techniques from their repertoire, which goes back to the 12th century. The Purcell 6-part Fantasia itself comes towards the end of almost two centuries in which many English composers wrote pieces based on Taverner's mass Gloria tibi Trinitas and I focus on this origin as well as on the Purcell Fantasia itself.
There are many, to me, curious aspects of the viol consort as an ensemble, for example the tuning of the instruments which make natural harmonics a useful device given the fact that there is a string of every named note except B. In addition, the restraint found within the consort's dynamic range attracted me especially (ff is not really a viol dynamic) making it a natural vehicle for understatement. (GB)

 

Note : Nicholas Gombert: Salve Regina, Diversi diversa orant.

Nicholas Gombert: Salve Regina, Diversi diversa orant.

Nicolas Gombert (c1495-c1560 may have been a pupil of Josquin Desprez (for whom he composed a famous tribute, Musae Iovis). The two composers are distinguished by their use of counterpoint, Josquin favouring paired duets, while Gombert developed imitation to the point where it really tested the rules of musica ficta. Salve Regina is a marian antiphon based on the chant of the same name, and the source material can be clearly heard in the uppermost voice while being elaborated canonically in the lower parts. Diversi diversa is a yet more skilful contrapuntal masterpiece: Gombert again takes the Salve Regina tune, which is heard in its entirety, but instead of elaborating on it he gives two additional complete chants to each of the lower parts. A small amount of adjustment is necessary to get them to fit together (an extended ornamental phrase here, a rest there), but the seven tunes (four of which are always heard simultaneously) combine seamlessly, resulting in one of the most ingenious examples of renaissance polyphony (and a motet that is appropriate for no less than seven different occasions). (JP)

 

Note : Bryars: from First Book of Madrigals (1998-2000)(1. Web 2. Stormy 3. Almond Tree)

Bryars: from First Book of Madrigals (1998-2000)
(1. Web 2. Stormy 3. Almond Tree)

In 1998 I embarked on a project to write a series of madrigals for the Hilliard Ensemble, eventually deciding to collect them in 'books' in the manner of Italian madrigalists, such as Monteverdi or Gesualdo. I sought, in writing these new madrigals, to work within the spirit and aesthetic of those from the Italian Renaissance. I asked my long-time collaborator Blake Morrison if he would be interested in writing new poems based on the Renaissance madrigal's form and content (John Potter pointed out that they were chiefly about love and sex). The settings are for 3, 4 or 5-part ensemble and the disposition of these ensembles varies. While most of the four-part madrigals are for alto, two tenors and baritone, there are some for three tenors and baritone. Equally of the 3 three-part settings two are for alto, tenor, baritone, while one is for two tenors and baritone. The poems cover a wide emotional range. Some focus on the details of loving relationships - with a subtle eroticism or, at times, irony - others deal with love in a more abstract sense.

The first four settings were written on Mondays (the first three to be ready for this concert, the fourth for a session of filming for a TV profile made by Hessischer Rudfunk in 1999). As a result of this coincidence, I wrote the remaining nine on Mondays in the summer of 2000 in our summer home in British Columbia, sometimes writing two, and once three, in a day. This implicitly committed me to seven books: the second book (written on Tuesdays) sets Petrarch, the third (on Wednesdays) sets J.M.Synge's Petrarch translations.....

The First Book of Madrigals is dedicated to my friends Rita and Martin Cadman. (GB)

 

Note : John Jenkins: 6-part Pavane in F

John Jenkins: 6-part Pavane in F

Jenkins can be considered the Sophocles of English 'consort' music for viols: octogenarian survivor into Charles II's reign, virtuoso genius on the instrument in his youth, respected by his peers and, in retirement in East Anglia, beloved of gentlemen connoisseurs whose manuscript-collections of consort music he tended as an honoured house-guest. His habitual style is 'easy and familiar', as Roger North put it, but it belies a masterly handling of the intricacies of six-part writing and his lyricism never falters. 'Pavane' is originally the title of a stately processional dance composed in three repeated sections or 'strains'. By Jenkins time it had become a purely musical form of a serious and contemplative nature. In the middle section of the Pavane in F he introduces a distinctive repeated-note figure which would later find its way into much North German music of the next generation. Perhaps it was a conscious borrowing from his younger but ill-fated contemporary William Lawes - certainly the dissonances of the final section recall his friend's more cavalier way with harmonic progressions. (RC)

 

Note : Bryars: Cadman Requiem (1989 rev. 1997)

Bryars: Cadman Requiem (1989 rev. 1997)

Cadman Requiem was written in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash in December 1988. It is in five sections and sets only two of the traditional requiem texts - "Kyrie" and "Agnus Dei" - with the addition of "In Paradisum" which, although from the Order of Burial, is set by Fauré and others. These three traditional texts are set for all the voices of the ensemble. The other two sections, which come in between the traditional parts, are Bede's paraphrase of Caedmon's Creation-Hymn (in Latin like the three traditional movements), for tenor solo (John Potter) and the original Caedmon poem (in 7th century Northumbrian), for baritone solo (Gordon Jones). I knew of Caedmon from my childhood holidays in Whitby, where the Caedmon Cross stands outside St Hilda's Abbey, where he worked as a cowherd. For the Requiem, I was drawn to his work because of the possibility that Bill's surname could be a corruption of "Caedmon".

Caedmon is the first English poet who, though he considered himself to lack any poetic skill, discovered the gift of poetic utterance when "a certain person" appeared to him in a dream.
Bede tells how, at the Abbey, guests at a feast would be invited in turn to sing and entertain the company but whenever Caedmon saw the harp coming his way he would get up from the table and go home. One night, however, when this had happened again, he had a dream in which a man stood beside him and called him by name and asked him to sing a song. Caedmon explained that he could not and that was why he had left the feast. The man told Caedmon to sing to him and Caedmon asked what he should sing. "Sing about the Creation of all things" the man replied and Caedmon immediately began to sing verses in praise of the Creation. The next day he remembered everything he had sung in his dream and added more verses. This "Creation Hymn" is the earliest English poem.

Cadman Requiem was written in the spring of 1989 for the four voices of the Hilliard Ensemble accompanied, in the original version, by two violas, cello and optional bass. This new version heard here was made in the autumn of 1997 for the Hilliard Ensemble to perform with the 6 viol consort Fretwork.

The opening and closing bars of the work allude directly to the beginning and end of Invention of Tradition, the work which Bill and I did together for the opening of the Liverpool Tate Gallery in May 1988. There the music was played on the combined organs of the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals and I have since (2003) made a version of the work for choir and organ which returns this music to its origins.

Cadman Requiem is dedicated to Bill Cadman. (GB)

 

Note : Text: Busnois: In Hydraulis

Text: Busnois: In Hydraulis

In Hydraulis quondam Pythagora
Admirante melos phtongitates
Malleorum secus is equora
Per ponderum inequalitates
Adinvenit muse quidditates.

Epitritum ast hemioliam
Epogdoum duplam nam perducunt
Tessaron penthe convenientiam
Necnon phtogum et pason aducunt
Monochordi dum genus conducunt.

Hec Oceghem cunctis qui precinis
Galliarum in regis latria
Practiculum tue propaginis
Arma cernens quondam per atria
Burgundie ducis in patria.

Per me, Busnois, illustris comitis
De Charolois indignum musicum
Saluteris tuis pro meritis
Tamquam summum Cephas tropidicum
Vale verum instar Orpheicum.

(trans.)
Once, when Pythagoras was wondering
At the melodies of water organs
And at the sounds of hammers on surfaces
He discovered through the differences in their weights
The essentials of music:

Epititum as well as hemiola
And epogdoum duplum, for they lead
Not only to the harmony of tessaron and penthe,
But also to that of phtogum and pason,
Relating to the tuning of the monochord.

You, Ockeghem, principle singer
In the service of the king of the French,
Strengthen the youthful practice of your race
When you at some time examine these aspects
In the hall of the Duke of Burgundy.

Through me, Busnois, of the illustrious Count
Of Charolais an unworthy musician,
May you be greeted as Cephas, first among composers.
Farewell, true image of Orpheus.

 

Note : Text: Bryars: Incipit Vita Nova

Text: Bryars: Incipit Vita Nova

Incipit Vita Nova                                                A new life is beginning

Ecce deus fortior me                                           Behold a God more powerful than I

qui veniens dominabitur mihi.                               who comes to rule over me

Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra                               Your source of joy has now appeared

Vide cor tuum                                                   Behold your heart

Tempus est ut praetermictantur                             It is time for false images

simulacra nostra.                                               to be put aside.

Nomina sunt consequentia rerum                           Names are the consequences of things

Hosanna in excelcis.                                           Hosanna in the highest.

Bella mihi, video,                                               Things beautiful to me, I see

bella parantur.                                                   beautiful things are being prepared.

(vita) qui est per omnia secula                              (a life) which is for all times

benedicta, benedicta.                                           blessed, blessed.

Omnis vita est immortalis.                                    All life is immortal.

Nomina sunt consequentia rerum                            Names are the consequences of things.

Note : Text: Bryars: from First Book of Madrigals

Text: Bryars: from First Book of Madrigals

 

1. Web (ATTB)

The spider's lurking-parlour

its vestibule of thread

the spin of it walls

closing in and round us

until the hall we entered

hoping to visit life

becomes the manor of our death.

No skylight over the door

no flue of air

only the trap of shadows

and darkness ripening

in the heart of the sun.

 

2. Stormy  (ATB)

 

I should have seen from your eyes

and the lightning which broke in them

the storms that lie ahead.

 

The white ecstasy of bedsheets,

smashed pots and broken furniture,

the forked static of your touch.

 

But storms pass like headaches do.

Today the rain, in carpet-tacks.

Alone together, we watch the rain.

 

3. Almond Tree (ATB)

 

We met under the fork of an almond tree

as March came slowly into leaf.

Our love blossomed like a snow-storm.

White confetti paved the street.

 

What are we to do now autumn's here?

Your eyes are cold, my arms have shrunk.

The years seem a tangle of dry twigs.

Can we get through them without love?

Note : Text: Nicholas Gombert: Salve Regina; Diversi diversa orant

Text: Nicholas Gombert: Salve Regina; Diversi diversa orant

Salve Regina

Salve regina misericordiae
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve
Ad te clamamus exules fili Hevae
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
In hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia ergo advocata nostra
Illos tuos misericordes oculos
Ad nos converte et Iesum benedictum
Fructum ventris tui
Nobis post hoc exilium ostende
O clemens O pia O dulcis virgo Maria

(trans.)
Hail merciful queen,
Our life, sweetness and hope, hail.
To you we cry, exiled sons of Eve.
To you we sigh, mourning and weeping
In this vale of tears.

O you, our advocate,
Turn to us your merciful eyes
And after this our exile, show us Jesus,
The blessed fruit of your womb.
O merciful, O pious, O ever sweet virgin Mary.

Diversi diversa

The following tests are sung simultaneously:

Salve Regina

Salve regina misericordiae
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve
Ad te clamamus exules fili Hevae
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
In hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia ergo advocata nostra
Illos tuos misericordes oculos
Ad nos converte et Iesum benedictum
Fructum ventris tui
Nobis post hoc exilium ostende
O clemens O pia O dulcis virgo Maria

(trans.)
Hail merciful queen,
Our life, sweetness and hope, hail.
To you we cry, exiled sons of Eve.
To you we sigh, mourning and weeping
In this vale of tears.

O you, our advocate,
Turn to us your merciful eyes
And after this our exile, show us Jesus,
The blessed fruit of your womb.
O merciful, O pious, O ever sweet virgin Mary.

Ave Regina/Beata Mater

Ave regina caelorum
Ave domina angelorum
Salve radix salve porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta
Gaude virgo gloriosa
Super omnes speciosa
Vale O valde decora
Et pro nobis semper Christum exora.

Beata mater et innupta virgo
Gloriosa regina mundi
Intercede pro nobis
Ad dominum nostrum
O dulcis Maria.

(trans.)
Hail queen of heaven,
Hail mistress of angels,
Greetings, root and gate,
From which world comes forth light.
Rejoice, glorious one
Above all beautiful things;
Hail O decorous one:
Pray for us always before Christ.

Blessed mother and unmarried virgin,
Glorious queen of the world,
Intercede on our behalf
To our lord,
O sweet Mary

Inviolata/Hortus conclusus

Inviolata integra et castra es Maria
Quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta
O mater alma Christi carissima
Suscipe pia laudum praeconia
Nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora
Te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora
Tua per precata dulcissima
Nobis concedas veniam per saecula
O benigna O regina O Maria
Quae sola inviolata permansisti.

Hortus conclusus dei genitrix
Hortus conclusus fons signatus
Surge propera amica mea
O dulcis Maria.

(trans.)
Inviolate, pure and chaste Mary,
Who are made the shining gate of heaven,
O kind mother, dearest to Christ,
Accept, gracious lady, our cries of praise;
So that our souls and bodies may be free from sin,
This we urgently request with our devoted hearts and mouths.
Through the sweet sound of your prayers
Grant us eternal forgiveness
O bounteous lady, O queen, O Mary,
You alone remained inviolate.

An enclosed garden, bearer of god,
An enclosed garden, fount of approbation,
Arise quickly my friend,
O sweet Mary.

Alma Redemptoris/Ave Maria

Alma redemptoris mater
Quae pervia vaeli
Porta manes et stella maris
Succure cadenti
Surgere qui curat populo
Tu quae genuisti natura mirante
Tuum sanctum genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius
Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud ave
Peccatorum miserere.

Ave Maria gratia plena
Dominus tecum benedicta tu
In mulieribus et benedictus
Fructus ventris tui
O dulcis virgo Maria

(trans.)
Gentle mother of the redeemer,
Who is the way to heaven,
The gateway to eternity and star of the sea,
Help one that is falling
To arise, you who helps people;
You who, to naturesís wonderment
Gave birth to the holy progenitor,
Virgin before and after,
Accepting from Gabriel's lips that greeting,
Have mercy on us sinners.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The lord is with you;
Blessed you are among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb,
O sweet virgin Maria.

Note : Text: Bryars: Cadman Requiem

Text: Bryars: Cadman Requiem

I Requiem

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis caro veniet.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison

(trans.)
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
O Lord, hear my prayer, all flesh shall come to thee.
Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy.

II Caedmon Paraphrase (Bede) (tenor solo)

Nunc laudare debemus auctorem regni caelestis, potentiam Creatoris et consilium illius, facta Patris gloriae. Quomodo ille, cum sit aeternus Deus, omnium miraculorum auctor extitit, qui primo filiis hominum caelum pro culmine tecti, dehinc terram custos humani generis omnipotens creavit.

(trans.)
Praise we now the maker of Heaven's fabric, the majesty of His might and His mind's wisdom, work of the world-warden, worker of all wonders, how the Lord of Glory, first made Heaven for the children of men as a roof and shelter, then he made middle earth to be their mansion.

III Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.
Lux aeterna luceat eis, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum quia pius est.
Requiem aeterna dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

(trans.)
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, give them rest.
Let perpetual light shine upon them, together with thy Saints, for thou art good.
Eternal rest grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

IV Caedmon's "Creation Hymn" (baritone solo)

Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard,
metudaes mecti end his mogdedanc,
uerc wuldurfadur sue he wundra gihwaes,
eci dryctin, or astelidae;
he aerist scop aelda barnum
heben til hrofe, haleg scepen,
tha middungeard moncynnaes uard;
eci dryctin aefter tiadae
firum foldu frea allmectig.

(trans.)
Now let us praise the keeper of the kingdom of heaven, the might of God and the wisdom of his spirit, the work of the Father of glory, in that he, the eternal Lord, ordained the beginning of everything that is wonderful. He, the holy Creator, first created heaven as a roof for the children of men; afterwards the keeper of mankind, the eternal Lord, almighty Governor, fashioned the world, the middle earth, for mortals.

V In Paradisum

In paradisum deducant angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiat te martyres et perducant te in civitatem sanctam. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere, aeternam habeas requiem.

(trans.)
May the angels receive thee in paradise; at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee into the Holy City. There may the choir of angels receive thee and with Lazarus, once a beggar, may thou have eternal rest.

 

Note : THE HILLIARD ENSEMBLE

THE HILLIARD ENSEMBLE

The Hilliard Ensemble is one of the world's finest vocal chamber groups, and is probably unrivalled for its formidable reputation in the fields of both early and new music. Their 1988 recording of Arvo Pärt's Passio began a fruitful relationship with both Pärt and the record company ECM. The group has more recently commissioned other composers from the Baltic States, including Veljo Tormis and Erkki-Sven Tüür, adding to a rich repertoire of new music written for the Ensemble by Gavin Bryars, Heinz Holliger, John Casken, James MacMillan, Elena Firsova, Stephen Hartke and others.

In 1994, Officium was released. This was the first of the group's collaborations with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, with whom they have enjoyed huge success throughout the world. A more recent collaboration entitled Morimur with the violinist Christoph Poppen has also been greeted with great acclaim.

Concerts with major orchestras have become a dominant part of the group's work and include performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.

Note : FRETWORK

FRETWORK

Fretwork, "one of the most expressive and ambitious of this country's viol consorts" (The Independent), made their London debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1986 and since then have established themselves both as a leading force in early music and as an inspiration to contemporary composers.

This versatile consort of four, five or six viols perform with or without voice, lute and organ. Their repertory spans the entire English consort tradition, as well as works from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Flanders, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The consort song repertory is frequently explored in collaboration with artists such as Catherine Bott and Michael Chance, while verse anthems are often performed with a four-part vocal group. Their twentieth-century programmes have featured new works written specifically for them by composers as diverse as George Benjamin, Michael Nyman and Thea Musgrave.

Fretwork recently signed an exclusive contract with Harmonia Mundi USA, and their first recordings for this label, "The Hidden Face", with music by John Tavener & Henry Purcell and Petrucci's "Harmonice Musices Odheacton" were released autumn 2001 to critical acclaim. Their recording of Bach's "Art of Fugue" was released in the autumn of 2002