In the summer of 1680, five years before the birth of J.S. Bach, the twenty-one year old Henry Purcell composed a collection of fifteen Fantasias for the Viols. At the time, viol consort music was falling out of fashion. The Fantasias received little attention and remained unpublished until 1927. Now, these brief and sublime studies in polyphony, scored for between three and seven voices, are considered to be precursors to Bach’s Musical Offering and Art of Fugue.
The final three Fantasias are a musical conversation among four voices. This recording features the Swiss ensemble, Hespèrion XX, led by Jordi Savall:
Fantasia No. X:
Fantasia No. XI:
Fantasia No. XII:
- Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols, Jordi Savall, Hespèrion XX Amazon
Featured Image: 17th century map of London, originally started by W.Hollar, student of German engraver Mattheus Merian