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Sirius Viols have no problem with that – a glance at Hille Perl’s idiosyncratic booklet-notes is proof – and so there is no time in this recording when you feel they are just playing the notes and hoping something will come of them. Instead they give this long-limbed music a coursing ebb and flow that never flattens, and a sense of purely musical drama that holds the listener in thrall. What is more, their sound is gorgeous: if you ever thought that three viols could only sound weedy, or that music for them could only noodle along in the background, here is concrete evidence to the contrary. In Sirius’s hands it compels attention.
Though I have heard a violin play
the top part, it is played here by a treble viol, with each of the three Sirius
players having a different season to try it out. If the differences between them
are slight ones, more noticeable is the way the continuo colourings change as
the cycle goes on, giving subtle shape to the year (the jangly sound of cittern
and bandora tremoloing in Spring is certainly a new one to me). Frankly, this
beautiful disc is as inspiriting as a woodland walk in autumn.
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