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International Record Review - 11-2012
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0691062039925 (V34)

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Reviewer:  Robert Levett

From the Fantazy’s awkward point of imitation (the central building-block of a fantasy during this period) through the ‘fake’ cantus firmus of On the Playnesong to the tension-filled lightness of the Aire, the opening Set a 5 in G minor provides both overture and microcosm for the recording as a whole. Here Phantasm seizes on the rough textures punctured by dissonances to really bring not just the music but what must have been a restless, tormented temperament to life.

The same can equally be said of the ‘grotesque’ opening of the Fantazia in the Set a 5 in A minor; the Set a 5 in C minor’s Paven on Dowland’s Lachrymae, which Dreyfus considers Lawes’s masterpiece; the bucolic sweetness of the Paven from the Set a 5 in C; the precipitous, dramatic Fantazy of the Set a 6 in G minor; the highly dissonant Fantazy of the Set a 6 in F; and the immense calm and freedom of the Inominy from the Set a 6 in B flat, an In nomine which brings the recording to a deliciously restful close after so much strife.

As is to be expected from Linn, the recording in St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, Hampshire is bright, detailed and not overly resonant: perfect for music of such extraordinary emotional range.
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