The English composer Michael East (1580-1648) wrote a set of eight 5-part fantasias for viols, acclaimed as being ‘among the best five-part consorts of the time’. They are unusual in that each has a Latin title, beginning with Desperavi, moving through Peccavi, Vidi, Penitet, Credidi, Vixi and Triumphavi, and ending with Amavi. We have recorded the complete set, as well as some pieces for voices and viols from East’s 1618 and 1610 publications which complement the fantasias.
To sum up the journey from despair (Desperavi) to love (Amavi) the programme concludes with a new commission by composer Jill Jarman, taking a verse from a poem by Sir Henry Wotton whose work East sets elsewhere. This disc will be released on the BIS label in 2021.
Fieri collaborated with the Chelys Consort of Viols on this project and look forward to performing with them in the future. Together they made their Wigmore Hall debut in 2019.
‘Played with passion, precision and brilliance’ – Early Music Review
Recently described by Gramophone as having released ‘unquestionably the most beautiful recording of the Lachrimae’, Chelys have garnered a reputation for their faithful yet fresh interpretations of the consort repertoire. They take their name from an ancient Greek word which referred to a bowed lyre, said to have been invented by the god Hermes. The word was borrowed by the English violist Christopher Simpson on the title page of his treatise ‘The Division Viol’ when he translated the work into Latin. Perhaps this is what inspired their world premiere recording of Simpson’s Airs for two trebles and two basses, a disc described as ‘wonderfully supple, propulsive and alive’ by the Guardian.