Purcell, Young, Lawes, Jenkins & Locke

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COMPOSERS: Jenkins & Locke,Lawes,Purcell,Young
LABELS: ASV Gaudeamus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The English Connection
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Bell’Arte Antiqua
As in Italy earlier on, the violin became a catalyst for musical change and innovation in England during the mid-17th century. William Lawes, Matthew Locke and John Jenkins were among several composers who developed string music along lines that were often strikingly individual and sometimes virtuosic. Their pieces for viols and violins laid the path for Purcell and, to some extent, provide the ground-plan for this interesting programme in which we can often sense a striving for formal definition. By interspersing three of Purcell’s Sonatas of Four Parts and four Pavans for two violins and continuo with music by the older composers we can build up a fascinating picture comprising a rich diversity of elements, of which dance, variation and fantasy are prominent. A pervasive strain of elegy infuses the repertoire and this is not lost on the two violinists, bass violist and harpsichordist/organist who make up Bell’Arte Antiqua. Chromaticisms abound and the Italian influence is also otherwise apparent in various structural applications, inflections, dissonances and virtuosic gestures in the violin-writing. These are sensitive performances of pieces which are heard all too seldom. Purcell’s deeply affecting A minor Pavan and the G minor Sonata/Chaconne come off outstandingly well in a sympathetically recorded programme. Nicholas Anderson