Performance Monday, April 20, 2015 | 7:30 PM


Weill Recital Hall
The 17th century was a golden age of English music for multiple viols as composers wove together intricate strands of melody in compositions both intimate and expressive. The inventive fantasies of Purcell and others, along with stunning "In Nomine" settings—instrumental compositions based on a chant melody—were masterpieces of the genre. Fretwork, “the finest viol consort on the planet” (London Evening Standard), plays this resplendent music.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Fretwork
    ·· Asako Morikawa, Viol
    ·· Reiko Ichise, Viol
    ·· Richard Tunnicliffe, Viol
    ·· Richard Boothby, Viol


  • TAVERNER In Nomine
  • CORNYSHE "Fa la sol"
  • TYE "Sit Fast"
  • PARSONS In Nomine No. 1
  • A. FERRABOSCO I "A Fancy"
  • BYRD Fantasia in D Minor, No. 1
  • BYRD In Nomine
  • GIBBONS Fantasia No. 2
  • GIBBONS In Nomine No. 1
  • PARSONS "Ut re me fa sol"
  • LOCKE Suite No. 3 in F Major
  • J. JENKINS Fantasy No. 7 in C Minor
  • J. JENKINS Fantasy No. 5 in F Major
  • PURCELL Fantasy No. 7 in C Minor, Z. 738
  • PURCELL Fantasy No. 12 in D Minor, Z. 743
  • PURCELL Fantasy No. 11 in G Major, Z. 742
  • BACH Prelude and Fugue in G Minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, BWV 885 (arr. Richard Boothby)

  • Encore:
  • BACH "Christe, aller Welt Trost," BWV 673

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Fretwork

    In 2016, Fretwork celebrates its 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, the group has explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged.

    In addition to this, Fretwork has become known as a pioneer of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned more than 40 new works by the most prominent writers of our time: George Benjamin, Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Elvis Costello, Alexander Goehr, John Woolrich, Orlando Gough, Fabrice Fitch, Peter Sculthorpe, Sally Beamish, Tan Dun, Barry Guy, Andrew Keeling, Thea Musgrave, Simon Bainbridge, Poul Ruders, John Joubert, Duncan Druce, and Nico Muhly.

    The group now frequently presents programs that consist entirely of contemporary music. In 2007, it toured to Russia (twice), Spain, France, and Ireland, with visits to the Edinburgh, Lufthansa, Spitalfields, and Aldeburgh music festivals. Fretwork also took part in a Festival of Evensong at five Cambridge colleges as part of a residency at Sidney Sussex College. The group now tours the US most years, and made its Carnegie Hall debut in February 2010.

    In 2010, Fretwork curated a weeklong concert series at the dynamic new London concert hall, Kings Place. The series culminated with the world premiere of Orlando Gough's The World Encompassed, a 70-minute piece that narrates in musical terms Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the globe from 1577 to 1580.

    In 2011, The National Centre for Early Music, in collaboration with the BBC, hosted a competition for young composers to create a four-minute piece for Fretwork. The group premiered the winning entries in Kings Place in December.

    In 2012, the ensemble premiered My Days, composed by Nico Muhly for The Hilliard Ensemble and Fretwork in Wigmore Hall. The following year was the group's busiest: It played no fewer than 10 concerts in London's Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Cadogan Hall, and at the Royal College of Music.

    In 2014, Fretwork performed the music of John Dowland on a major UK tour with tenor
    Ian Bostridge, and this season, the ensemble premiered Nico Muhly's Slow at Kings Place. It continues its association with Dartington International Summer School in August and aims to record a reworking of The World Encompassed later in the year that incorporates a spoken narrative drawn from contemporary accounts.

    Next year, the group celebrates its 30th anniversary with further visits to Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, in addition to commissioning more new works. In October 2016, Fretwork embarks on another three-week tour of North America.

    More Info


Purcell's Fantasy No. 8 in D Minor
Harmonia Mundi

In the Artist's Own Words

Before Bach, there was counterpoint—intricate, complex music where musical ideas are woven together, framed by rules that govern intervals and harmony, and define consonance and dissonance. The intellectual challenge this represents was something that was in Bach’s blood.

England in the 16th and 17th centuries enjoyed a powerful renaissance of music that produced its finest composers, and counterpoint was the medium through which this music was expressed. While vocal music had text to give it form, instrumental music had to seek external forms to frame its content. One of the most often used was the cantus firmus, or “fixed tune,” where a previously known melody is played in slow notes of equal length against a more flowing contrapuntal texture.
Program Notes


An Introduction to Before Bach

Before Bach
This performance is part of Before Bach, and Early Music Instrumental.

Part of