Fretwork

Fantasia

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212071625
Catnr: SIGCD 716
Release date: 13 May 2022
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212071625
Catalogue number
SIGCD 716
Release date
13 May 2022
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

FANTASIA is Fretwork’s eleventh release with Signum Classics, and explores the court music of tudor Eng-
land through the works of Thomas Lupo. A very large quantity of Lupo’s private and intimate viol consort music has survived, and we can marvel at its variety and quality. He wrote for unique combinations of viols in his three-part Fantasies, however the five- and six-part fantasies are his most impressive work, serious and compelling pieces showing a fabulous command of counterpoint.

Artist(s)

In 2021, Fretwork celebrates its 35th anniversary. In the past three and a half
decades they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music,
from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are
judged.
In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary
music for viols, having commissioned over 40 new works. The list of composers is
like the role call of the most prominent writers of our time: George Benjamin,
Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Elvis Costello, Alexander Goehr,
John Woolrich, Orlando Gough, Fabrice Fitch, Peter Sculthorpe, Sally Beamish,
Tan Dun, Barry Guy, Andrew Keeling, Thea Musgrave, Simon Bainbridge, Poul
Ruders, John Joubert, Duncan Druce and Nico Muhly. The group now frequently
presents programmes consisting entirely of contemporary music.
They made their Carnegie Hall debut in February of 2010, and now tour the
United States most years. In that year, they also curated a week-long concert
series of concerts at Kings Place. The culmination of this week was the world
premier of The World Encompassed by Orlando Gough, a 70-minute piece
describing in musical terms Drake"s circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80.
In 2011, The National Centre for Early Music, in collaboration with the BBC,
hosted a competition for young composers to create a four-minute piece for

Fretwork. They workshopped the shortlisted pieces at the NCEM in York in
October, and then the winning entries were premiered in Kings Place in December
2011.
The following year, they premiered Nico Muhly’s My Days for The Hilliard
Ensemble and Fretwork in Wigmore Hall; while 2013 was their busiest year for a
decade: they played no fewer than ten concerts in London"s major chamber music
halls: Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Cadogan Hall and the Royal College of Music.
They celebrated their 30th anniversary with a star-studded concert at Kings Place
in June of 2016; and recorded four new albums, including The World
Encompassed, and later that year they made their longest tour of America, taking
in the USA, Canada & Colombia.
In 2018 they performed and recorded a programme celebrating the music of
Michael Nyman – who was 75 in 2019 – with the exceptional counter-tenor,
Iestyn Davies; and in 2019 they toured North America with this programme. That
year they also began a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall, called ‘Musick’s
Monument’, presenting the greatest English consort music from the Golden Age –
six concerts ranging from Cornyshe to Purcell.
Their recordings with Signum Classics have resulted in several notable releases:
The World Encompassed, John Jenkins Four Part Fantasies, If (with Iestyn
Davies), In Chains of Gold: Orlando Gibbons’ consort anthems, & The Silken Tent,
with Clare Wilkinson, including the music of Debussy, Grieg, Byrd, Purcell,
Nyman, Goehr, Wolf, Britten, Shostakovich and Stephen Wilkinson; and then In
Nomine II, concluding a survey of English In Nomines started with their debut
album in 1987, including Nico Muhly’s Slow and music by Ferrabosco, Bull, Tye,
Baldwin, Parsons and Purcell.
The 2020 pandemic curtailed most groups plans and activities, and Fretwork saw
its fair share of cancellations; but it was fortunate to receive £30,000 from Arts

Council England’s Emergency fund, and then to be able to present a live-
streamed concert with Iestyn Davies from the National Centre for Early Music in

York, a programme of Dowland’s Lachrimae from Wigmore Hall and premier a
new work by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones in the Early Music Festival in
Blackheath. They also pressed ahead with more recording, once lockdown
restrictions were eased.
In 2021, they have been at Wigmore Hall twice, including a performance on Good
Friday, the first from Wigmore for many decades, of Johann Sebastiani’s St
Matthew Passion. They have also been awarded a substantial grant from Arts
Council England to continue and maintain the continuity of their work.
In 2022 they will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of one of
England’s greatest composers for viols, Matthew Locke; and plans visits to
Germany, Spain and France. There will also be a collaboration with The Kings
Singers and new works from Sir James MacMillan and Roderick Williams.

Composer(s)

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