Music for Viols and Voices by Michael East
Fieri Consort, Chelys Consort of Viols
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This admirable collaboration between the voices of the Fieri Consort and the viols of the Chelys Consort brings us the complete five-part fantasias by Michael East for viols of 1610, interspersed with madrigals and verse anthems by the composer. East seems to be a composer doomed these days to be a filler on CDs of more familiar composers of the period, and it is about time a CD like this declared his considerable virtues. This seems doubly relevant, as East gave Latin names to his eight fantasias, indicating a progression from guilt through repentance to love, and clearly suggesting that he viewed them as an integrated sequence. One of the chief delights of this CD is to be able to evaluate this collection in its entirety at the same time enjoying the superlative choral music – who realised for instance that East’s settings of “When David Heard” and “O Clap your Hands” deserve a place beside those of his more illustrious contemporaries? The Fieri Consort produce a wonderfully pure tone that complements perfectly the sound of the viols, and both young ensembles are to be congratulated for their technical and musical excellence, but also for their imaginative programming. The CD concludes with a newly commissioned work by contemporary composer, Jill Jarman, a restlessly charming setting of a text by Sir Henry Wotton.
D. James Ross