Fretwork, Purcell & Nyman: Music After Awhile, Modulus 2019


Fretwork features the talents of Emily Ashton, Richard Boothby, Joanna Levine, Asako Morikawa, and Sam Stadlen.

Fretwork is the finest viol consort on the planet.

The London Evening Standard

In 2016, Fretwork celebrated 30 years of performing music old and new, and looks forward to a challenging and exciting future as the world’s leading consort of viols. In these last three decades, they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged.

Their series of discs for Virgin Classics included CDs devoted to William Lawes, Henry Purcell, William Byrd, Matthew Locke, John Dowland and Orlando Gibbons; while their more recent work for Harmonia Mundi USA has produced three discs of J.S.Bach — The Art of Fugue, Alio Modo and The Goldberg Variations — which have been exuberantly praised; and discs of the earliest instrumental music (Petrucci); Sir John Tavener’s The Hidden Face; Thomas Tomkins; Alexander Agricola & Fabrice Fitch; Ludwig Senfl with Charles Daniels and two collaborations with the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford. Their recording of concert songs by William Byrd with Emma Kirkby has received particular praise.

In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned over 40 new works. The list of composers is like the role call of the most prominent writers of our time: George Benjamin, Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Elvis Costello, Nico Muhly, John Woolrich, Orlando Gough, Sally Beamish, Tan Dun, Barry Guy, Thea Musgrave – to name but a few. The group now frequently presents programmes consisting entirely of contemporary music, though most audiences find that the creative tension of juxtaposing old and new leads to a thrilling experience.


This page was last updated in November 2020.