COMPOSERS: Lawes (William)
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
PERFORMER: London Baroque
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901423 DDD
William Lawes was an English composer of the early 17th century, the younger brother of the better-known Henry and a keen supporter of Charles I. He came to a sticky end while fighting for the royalist cause at the Battle of Chester in 1645. Unlike his brother he was active mainly in the sphere of instrumental music, and he was among the first to use the new-fangled violin alongside the bass viol.
The source for the recording is David Pinto’s realisation published in the Musica Britannica series. London Baroque clearly have a feel for this music. The intonation is good, and the ornamentation stylish in the best authentic manner. Some may regret the low-profile approach of the organist. His role, admittedly, is to give support, but the instrument is virtually inaudible most of the time. Nevertheless, for an introduction to the work of this neglected composer, this will do very well. Wadham Sutton