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Dip Your Ears, No. 129 (Viols and Organ)

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William Lawes,
Consorts to the Organ
D.Hyde / L.Dreyfus / Phantasm /
Linn 399

“Consorts to the Organ” confusingly means exactly what it says: a consort – of viols – to accompany a – chamber – organ. The consort makes the majority of the merry noise of the musicke of Lawes (1602 – 1645); the organ usually keeps in the background, doubling the viols. The collection of Fantasies and Airs comprise subdued and beautiful early baroque that even the treble violist and director of the early music group Phantasm calls “an acquired taste”. But then everything unfamiliar needs to be acquired, and Lawes makes it easy. Easiest in the second “Fantazy a6 in F”, which in Lawes understated way, comes close to rocking the House of Stuart.