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Fretwork

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  1. 1.
    Lawes: Consort Set No. 2 for 5 Viols in A Minor, VdGS 71-73: II. Fantazy - William Lawes,
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    In Nomine à 5 (VdGS no. 4) - William Byrd,
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    When Jesus Went (Salvator mundi II) - Thomas Tallis, Alamire, David Skinner
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    Dies sind die heiligen zehen Gebot (alio modo), BWV 679 à 4 (from Clavier Übung, Part III) - Johann Sebastian Bach,
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While Fretwork was originally intent only on achieving the highest standard of performance , and of bringing the great English consort music to the public's attention, their encounter with George Benjamin in the late 1980s opened up an entirely new channel of discovery.
Now they devote as much energy to new music as old, and their collaborations with composers such as Elvis Costello, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Orlando Gough and many others have proved inspirational.
Their recent album 'The World Encompassed' is a perfect expression of such adventurousness. It combines music that Francis Drake might have heard aboard his flagship on his journey round the world in 1577 - consort music by Robert Parsons and some of the hymns of the newly-formed Anglican Church - with the wildly imaginative evocations of the native music they might have heard, conjured up by Orlando Gough.
Yet their original remit has not been completed, so they regularly return to their roots to carry on their exploration of the massive repertory that is little known. Two recent discs show how much they value this work: In Chains of Gold realises a long-held ambition to present Gibbons' wonderfully expressive consort anthems in the original keys with voices that can carry the all-important text with clarity and passion. And John Jenkins' marvellous Fantasias of four parts.
And that is just the first 30 years. What will the next decades bring?

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