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viol consort awarded


The recording of John Jenkins' "Consort Music of Four Parts" (2011) has been awarded a Diapason d'Or: ‘Listening to this CD one feels the happiness shared by the consort musicians and experiences a pleasure that is close to a concert experience.” Gesina Liedmeier made the viols for the Spirit of Gambo, and is one of the players in this viol consort since the very start in 1989. Check the site of the Spirit of Gambo or read the article below.


Viol fantasias, in the 17th century, experienced a glorious Indian summer in England. Although by then the continent only swore by the violin, Jenkins, Lawes or Locke kept exploring the possibilities offered by consort music, in a cultural landscape which also included Van Dyck and Milton. Phantasm (Avie) and Hesperion XX (Astrée) had already looked into Jenkins' fantasias for five and six voices, followed by Jérôme Hantaï who counted on the efficiency of a mixed ensemble of viols and violins (NaÏve). The Spirit of Gambo (a beautiful name inspired by Tobias Hume) chose to record the four voices fantasias. It may be argued that the treble's interpretation - always perilous - is slightly less tidy than that of its partners. No matter, however: the Dutch ensemble is not looking for the immaculate perfection of its English counterparts, nor the sonorous splendour of Hesperion XX, nor the wild delivery of Ghielmi's team. What dominates is a sense of balance, a quest for natural beauty, and an interpretation devoid of affectation and brutality, which avoids blandness by paying particular attention to nuances of polyphonic lines. A pleasure so close to that of a concert is seldom found in a recording, nor is the convivial happiness the "consortists" share. Where does such an intelligible and wholesome approach come from? A lead: one of the ensemble's musicians (Gesina
Liedmeier) is also the inventive maker of their viols, and her instruments are integrally fitted with gut strings, which makes for great transparency and dynamics.



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