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MF8011 | BUY

John Jenkins
Consort Music of Four Parts

Freek Borstlap dessus de viole
Gesina Liedmeier, viole ténor
Thomas Baeté, viole ténor
Ivanka Neeleman, basse de viole

John Jenkins’ life encompassed the golden age of English instrumental music, from Byrd to Purcell. Throughout this period, he scrupulously followed the fashions of English chamber music as it evolved in stages from the typical English fantasia towards the trio sonata of more Italianate inspiration. With considerable skill and a strong sense of lyricism he brought the fantasia for viol consort to its zenith. John Jenkins and his much esteemed friend William Lawes can be regarded as the two most important composers in England during the reign of Charles I.

Fanfare (U.S.A.)
Christopher Brodersen
Listening to this CD brought back a flood of pleasant memories. In the late ’60s I was privileged to play in the Collegium Musicum at the University of Michigan, headed by Robert A. Warner, an outstanding violist and gambist as well as scholar. With Warner’s help and guidance, several of us formed a viol consort within the Collegium, and for two years we explored the great English literature for viols: Byrd, Gibbons, Dowland, Holborne, Lawes, Locke, and Jenkins. Many record collectors will be familiar with the fantasias for viols of Purcell, but these are really the culmination of a long tradition that began in the Elizabethan era. John Jenkins (1592–1678) wrote primarily during the reign of the ill-fated Charles I; his viol music can be considered to have directly influenced Purcell, who probably wrote his music in the early 1680s, following the Restoration.
The Spirit of Gambo is a four-member viol consort based in the Netherlands. I am able to find one prior mention in Fanfare for a group by that name, but the instrumentation is entirely different, so I don’t think it’s the same group. For all intents and purposes, then, a debut recording.
The highly refined, ethereal music may be an acquired taste for some. For me, it inhabits the same lofty plane as Bach’s Art of Fugue or Beethoven’s late string quartets. It’s best to listen to the music in small doses, otherwise it becomes difficult to follow Jenkins’s contrapuntal arguments after a while. The performances are everything one could wish for: polished and expressive, quite hypnotically beautiful, in fact. Considering that this is the only CD currently in the catalog that brings together all of Jenkins’s four-part fantasias (plus one pavan), an absolutely essential acquisition for lovers of this musical genre.

Harold Lopparelli
On ne retrouve pas si souvent au disque un plaisir si proche de celui du concert, ou du bonheur convivial que partagent les "consortistes" eux-mêmes.
(Note technique 5/5)

Musica Dei donum
Johan van Veen
... These fantasias are masterpieces in every respect, and fortunately they receive outstanding performances by The Spirit of Gambo. The playing is passionate, with some fine dynamic contrasts. The perfect intonation allows the harmonic peculiarities to come off approprately.

Nobody interested in consort music should miss this great disc.

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