Lawes: Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol

By Sadie, Julie Anne | Gramophone, July 2016 | Go to article overview

Lawes: Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol


Sadie, Julie Anne, Gramophone


Lawes [G]

Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol

Richard Boothby lyra viol

Harmonia Mundi (F) HMU90 7625 (60' * DDD)

Lock the doors, close the curtains and turn the lights down before putting this disc on. Here is music for an intimate space: solo music for solitary souls. This is a rare opportunity to hear solo lyra viol music from the early 1630s played on a beautiful period instrument by one of today's foremost exponents of the Jacobean repertoire. Richard Boothby has been playing English consort music (some of it by Lawes) with Fretwork for over 30 years, so is as well placed as anyone today to interpret this body of solo music, most of it recorded here for the first time.

Samuel Pepys apparently played lyra viol music on whatever viol he had to hand, but in fact the lyra differs from the slightly larger bass viol in several respects: the strings are lighter and closer to the fingerboard, the bridge more rounded to accommodate the execution of chordal passages and, in addition, some instruments were strung below the fingerboard with sympathetic strings that could be plucked by the left hand. …

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