The exceptional viol quartet Phantasm, who won a Gramophone Award for their Avie debut disc of consorts by Orlando Gibbons (AV 0032), offer an equally ravishing recording of the repertoire in which they excel, from the golden age of Elizabethan England. Four distinct musical personalities – or “temperaments” – are represented: the dissonant Robert Parsons, the cool Ferrabosco the Elder, the warm and sanguine Thomas Tallis, and the polar opposites of ecstasy and melancholy of William Byrd.
Phantasm have re-defined the art of viol playing. Inspired by the great 20th-century string quartets, the striking unity of their ensemble and suave sonorities are unmatched by any other viol ensemble playing today.
"...This recording is an impressive addition to the growing list of brilliant recordings by Phantasm, many of which have received or have been nominated for awards. Another good candidate for an award - the playing is outstanding. The sound is crisp and clear, yet warm and vibrant. The melancholy of some pieces is just as well realised as the more joyful works, where the ensemble displays a strong sense of dynamics and rhythm. In short, this disc presents English consort music in its full glory."
Johan van Veen