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Christopher Simpson - Ayres & Graces

Composer Christopher Simpson
Performer Chelys Consort of Viols
Period Baroque
Catalogue Number BIS-2153 SACD
EAN 7318599921532
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date May 2015
Total time 59'38

Not much is known about Christopher Simpson’s life, except that he was a seminal writer for the viol. Even today modern violists use his manual The Division Viol as a guide to the practice of ‘divisions’, the improvised embellishments that were so fashionable during his time. Much of his music nevertheless goes unperformed, and the present collection of Ayres here receives its first recording, by Chelys, a British quartet of young violists. Describing the collection as being ‘for two trebles and two basses’, the manuscript sources also include parts for continuo. Chelys have therefore enlisted the aid of Dan Tidhar and James Akers in the twenty airs, pavanes, galliards and other dances that fall comfortably into five suites. On the disc are also some examples of Simpson’s Divisions, for two treble viols and for treble and bass viol respectively. As a result, the programme offers fascinating insights into Simpson’s music and the viol during the mid-17th century. By turns melancholy, lively and graceful, these Ayres are glowing examples from the tail-end of the great English tradition of music for viol consort – a tradition to which, some ten years after Simpson’s death, Purcell with his celebrated Fantazias would add the final chapter.
Choose format
  Christopher Simpson
  20 Ayres for Two Trebles and Two Basses: Nos 14–16 in D minor 7'58
01 Pavin 5'03
02 Galliard 1'43
03 Aire 1'12
  20 Ayres for Two Trebles and Two Basses: Nos 4–7 in B flat major 8'32
04 Pavin 3'55
05 Galliard 1'56
06 Aire 1'43
07 Sarabande 0'58
  Two Divisions 8'58
08 Divisions in F major for two bass viols 3'01
09 Divisions in A minor for treble and bass viol 1'30
  20 Ayres: Nos 1–3 in C major 8'35
10 Pavin 4'29
11 Aire 2'13
12 Sarabande 1'53
  20 Ayres: Nos 17–20 in G minor 10'44
13 Pavin 5'06
14 Galliard 1'57
15 [Aire] 2'03
16 [Sarabande] 1'38
  Two Divisions 8'58
17 Divisions in C major for two bass viols 2'15
18 Divisions in A minor for treble and bass viol 2'12
  20 Ayres: Nos 8–13 in D major 13'10
19 Pavin 4'41
20 Aire 1'52
21 Corant 1'35
22 Aire 1'44
23 Aire 1'20
24 [Sarabande] 1'58
  Album total 59'38
ComposerSimpson, Christopher

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