OPUS PRIZE: Disc of the year - Medieval Music, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical
William Lawes is believed by many to have been the most important English composer of his time. He wrote in many genres, but was best-known for his dance music and dramatic works, including masques, and especially for his inventiveness in chamber music of the kind featured on this CD. Composed in the early 1630s, the Royall Consorts were Lawes’s best-known works in his own lifetime. Lawes developed the custom, new at the time, of grouping his instrumental pieces into collections or suites (“Setts”, as he called them). These consisted of the more sedate dances of the time, the pavans and almans, interspersed with instrumental movements which he called fantasies.
Susie Napper and Margaret Little, the two gambists of Les Voix humaines, have been thrilling audiences worldwide with dashing performances of early and contemporary music for viols since 1985. Their musical complicity has been compared to the skill of two trapeze artists or the telepathic communion of a pair of jazz saxophonists!