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William Lawes: The Harp Consorts

Les Voix Humaines , Maxine Eilander , William Lawes Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 11.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Composer: William Lawes
  • Audio CD (9 Sep 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ATMA Classique
  • ASIN: B001BLR7HQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,580 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Consort 8
2. Consort 7
3. Consort 3
4. Consort 11
5. Consort 4
6. Consort 9
7. Consort 5
8. Consort 6
9. Consort 10
10. Consort 2
11. Consort 1
12. Duo for Guitar and Harp - William Lawes - William Lawes

Product Description

ATMA 22372; ATMA Classique - Canada; Classica da camera

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Lawes 16 Dec 2013
By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent and hugely enjoyable recording of the Harp Consorts of Willam Lawes. I have a number of very fine recordings of some of Lawes's other consort music, but this is the first time I heave heard the Harp Consorts. They, and the performances here, stand very well beside those I already have.

The Consort of a diverse mixture of instruments had developed as an idea during the first half of the 17th Century and Lawes (who died during the Civil War) was one of its finest exponents. The music here is original, diverse and extremely engaging to the listener. He uses his combination of instruments - harp, theorbo, violin and two bass viols (violas da gamba) - very well so that there is real tonal as well as melodic and harmonic interest here and the whole effect is simply delightful.

The musicians are first-rate. I have enjoyed the work of the gamba duo Les Voix Humaines for several years now since I began buying their excellent series of Sainte-Colombe recordings (Complete Works for two equal viols, vol.1 etc). Stephen Stubbs, David Greenberg and especially harpist Maxine Eilander are also excellent and they play with a deep understanding of the music and excellent cohesion and precision in their ensemble playing. It's a great performance of this music and really makes it shine.

The recorded sound is good - although the gambas are slightly under-recorded for my taste, Stephen Stubbs's notes are full of fascinating scholarly detail and the presentation is attractive. I would recommend this very warmly to anyone with the slightest interest in music of this period - it's a really good disc.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obscure but excellent 2 Oct 2008
By Jim Shine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I suppose you could view this music as a first cousin of the viol consort - here we have 2 violas da gamba, violin, harp and theorbo. Lawes was one of the leading composers in the time of Charles I; he died in his early forties, having been fatally wounded at the siege of Chester (his older brother Henry outlived him by 17 years). This is the first complete recording of the 11 harp consorts, and in fact Arkivmusic lists only a single other perfomance of one of them. The reason for this fine music's neglect is the difficulty of dealing with the source material; in his booklet notes, theorbo player Stephen Stubbs goes into detail on what had to be reconstructed, and also on the decision as to whether an Irish harp or a triple harp should be used (the latter, it turns out). The 11 consorts are organized as follows: numbers 1 to 6 are suites of dances, generally along the lines of Air or Allemande, a pair of Courantes, and a Sarabande; number 7 is a short Air on its own; numbers 8 to 10 each consist of a Pavane and divisions; and number 11 is a Fantazy. Always my big concern with music of this period is whether it can stand up to sustained listening - will it get too samey after half an hour? No worries here. For a start, the pieces are grouped on the disc not in numerical order but by key - there are 3 each in G major, G minor, and D major, and 2 in D minor. This gives a unity of mood while maintaining a variety in the music. And there is plenty of variety here, the dance suites in particular giving Lawes plenty of scope and allowing him to show off some catchy tunes. The Sarabandes in particular caught my ear, and throughout one can revel in the warmth of the sound. The other significant factor in the disc's success is, of course, the musicians. Les Voix Humaines, in the form of gambists Susie Napper and Margaret Little, have a fine catalogue for Atma, and presumably Stephen Stubbs needs no introduction to anyone with an interest in baroque music; violinist David Greenberg is a name I've seen in other recordings (he also plays fiddle), and although I'd not heard of Maxine Eilander, in my defense I'll admit to not having much (well, any) harp music in my collection. (Incidentally, this music isn't harp-plus-consort - the harp is very much part of the team). This excellent disc is capped off by a pleasant dessert in the form of a duo for 2 lutes, here performed on harp and baroque guitar. For anyone with an interest in Lawes or music of the period, the disc is pretty much self-recommending, and if you're a newcomer to this particular byway, it's an excellent place to start.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music you dance to with the one you love 6 Sep 2008
By Tym S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the first complete recording of the 17th century composer's reknowned and beautiful harp consorts. Composed for the court of Charles I, these elegant waltzes are bright with the interplay of harp and violin over violas and guitar. They are propulsive for the feet while swirling in a deft and delicate romanticism. This is music you dance to with the one you love, under a clear indigo sky.

Lawes was killed, followed by his king, in the English Civil War. His legacy was almost lost to the ages from that lack of disciples and the long frown of disfavor for his use of innovative, odd counterpoints. Recent years have shone new light on him. This volume is a great record of the warmth and incandescence of his work, particularly in the skills of front players Maxine Eilander (harp) and David Greenberg (baroque violin). Lacing it and expanding it are the subtle sureness of Stephen Stubbs (theorbo and guitar) and 'Le Voix Humaines', Susie Napper and Margaret Little (violas). A labor of love full of lovely music.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lawes: the harp consorts 22 Mar 2014
By yves deneulin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As for the cd "Strike the viol", this one is forthcoming. I possess only the other consorts of William Lawes and I did not know he wrote also "Harp consorts". I listened to a large extract of this last one on your web site. It pleased me so that I did not hesitate to order it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Lawes 16 Dec 2013
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent and hugely enjoyable recording of the Harp Consort of Willam Lawes. I have a number of very fine recordings of some of Lawes's other consort music, but this is the first time I heave heard the Harp Consorts. They, and the performances here, stand very well beside those I already have.

The Consort of a diverse mixture of instruments had developed as an idea during the first half of the 17th Century and Lawes (who died during the Civil War) was one of its finest exponents. The music here is original, diverse and extremely engaging to the listener. He uses his combination of instruments - harp, theorbo, violin and two bass viols (violas da gamba) - very well so that there is real tonal as well as melodic and harmonic interest here and the whole effect is simply delightful.

The musicians are first-rate. I have enjoyed the work of the gamba duo Les Voix Humaines for several years now since I began buying their excellent series of Sainte-Colombe recordings (Complete Works for two equal viols, vol.1 etc). Stephen Stubbs, David Greenberg and especially harpist Maxine Eilander are also excellent and they play with a deep understanding of the music and excellent cohesion and precision in their ensemble playing. It's a great performance of this music and really makes it shine.

The recorded sound is good - although the gambas are slightly under-recorded for my taste, Stephen Stubbs's notes are full of fascinating scholarly detail and the presentation is attractive. I would recommend this very warmly to anyone with the slightest interest in music of this period - it's a really good disc.

(I would also recommend these excellent recordings of Lawes by Phantasm:
W Lawes: Consorts to the Organ
and Fretwork:
William Lawes - Consort Music)
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