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