Monday 7 January 2013

Fretwork at Kings Place

Fretwork viol consort
The viol consort Fretwork is having a short residency at Kings Place with three concerts on 17, 18 and 19 January, with composers ranging from Robert White and Thomas Tallis, to John Dowland and Thea Musgrave. The centre piece of the concerts is Musick's Monument, a reconstruction of a programme described by Thomas Mace in his 1676 book of that name - 'they have been to myself as divine raptures, powerfully captivating all our unruly faculties and affections, and disposing us to solidity gravity and a good temper, making us capable of heavenly and divine influences.'  The programme was the unrealised dream of viol-player Richard Campbell, the founder member of Fretwork who died in 2011. The other programmes, Dowland's Lachrimae Pavans and the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Robert White and Thomas Tallis, recall his art.

Fretwork opens on 17 January with a programme of Lamentations performed with the vocal consort Alamire, directed by David Skinner. They perform the Lamentations of Thomas Tallis and Robert White, alongside music by Robert Parsons, Robert White and Christopher Tye. The concert is completed by Thea Musgrave's Wild Winter I which was written for Fretwork in 1993. It is a multi-lingual lament for the folly of war, setting texts by Owen, Traki, Lorca, Petrarch and Pushkin. The work was first performed at Lichfield Cathedral and Musgrave's intent was to reflect the siege of Lichfield in the text, choosing poems that all shared the powerful emotions resulting from the inevitable losses and cruelties of any war.

The second programme on Friday 18 January is centred on Dowland's Lachrimae, a collection of dance music and viols in which seven pavans are lined by a single theme, based on his song Flow my teares - 'Seaven teares figured in seaven passionate pavans'. For the concert Fretwork will be joined by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny. The seven pavans map a journey from despair to hope. The programme is complete with Adrian William's Teares to Dreams written in 2004 for the Cheltenham Festival, it is a beautiful and poignant reflection on Dowland’s pavans, employing the same forces, yet bringing a contemporary sensibility to the 17th century form.

Finally on Saturday 19 January comes Musick's Monument with viol music in three four and five parts by William Lawes, Richard Deering, John Ward, William White, John Jenkins, John Coprario, Claudio Monteverdi, Christopher Simpson,  Alfonso Ferrabosco II and Thomas Lupo.

Further information from Fretwork's website or the Kings Place website.

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