Sherborne Abbey, 20 May 2017

Cambridge Renaissance Voices join forces with the viol consort Concordia in the glorious setting of Sherborne Abbey, to explore a rich repertoire of English music from the 17th century.

Tickets available online or call 01935 815341.

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This was the golden age of consort music, where voices and viols were used interchangeably or together. Viol consorts were central to domestic music-making, in part- songs or madrigals equally suited to string players or singers.

A parallel tradition developed in relation to church music; for over a hundred years, English composers explored the fascination of vocally inspired instrumental polyphony by writing ‘In nomines’ for viol consort, weaving elaborate instrumental lines around a musical theme taken from the Tudor composer John Taverner’s mass on the plainchant ‘Gloria Tibi Trinitas’.

Voices and viols came together in the verse anthem, whose greatest Jacobean exponents included Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tomkins. The music of Henry Purcell represents in many ways the culmination of this rich tradition. While his anthems straddle the musical styles of the late Renaissance and a more dramatic idiom signalling the early Baroque, Purcell’s viol Fantasias look back to an earlier age, bringing to an old instrumental form a dazzling complexity and musical beauty.