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John Holloway Ensemble

Henry Purcell - Fantazias (CD)

After a programme of works thematically spun around Renaissance composer John Dowland’s Lachrimae Pavans (ECM 2189), violinist John Holloway and his ensemble now devote their art to Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s “Fantazias”. Commenting on the fantasias in his detailed liner note, Holloway remarks how “it is tempting to see their brilliant distillation of the very best of Byrd, Lawes, Jenkins and Locke as a personal farewell to a kind of music, which in Purcell’s own chamber music would soon be superseded by sonatas.” Purcell’s fantasias are regarded as some of the finest and most intricately wrought works in the genre, embracing profound counterpoint and a great command of all of the polyphonal techniques of the time. Holloway and the ensemble’s reading of the three- and four-part fantasias offers deep insight into the compositions’ fabric, revealing a fresh perspective of a composer with, as Holloway notes, “an extraordinary ability to walk the fine line between joy and sorrow, to beautifully express the melancholy which was such a characteristic mood of his times.”

Fantazias, Z. 732-743
1. Fantazia X
2. Fantazia I
3. Fantazia IV
4. Fantazia V
5. Fantazia VI
6. Fantazia II
7. Fantazia VII
8. Fantazia VIII
9. Fantazia IX
10. Fantazia III
11. Fantazia XI
12. Fantazia XII