Photo: Courtesy of Magnatune
The consort Wildcat Viols, an ensemble of three musicians well known in the Bay Area, was founded in 2003. They made their debut at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in 2004, then in 2006 made their first recording, which was released by Magnatune in 2011.
Entitled Fairest Isle, the CD comprises seventeenth-century English music, some of it specifically composed for violas da gamba, the rest arranged for them.
Variety on the CD is partly a result of the fact that viols come in many different sizes, and professional players are expected to play more than one size. For example, the Pavan by Matthew Locke that you have been hearing is composed for treble, tenor and bass viols.
What a contrast there is in the sound of three bass viols in this piece of John Hingeston.
Henry Purcell is well represented on the recording in arrangements of his theatre music, for which the singer Catherine Webster joins the trio, Sonnatas of Three Parts, originally for 2 violins and continuo, and his three fantazias in three parts from 1680. Here is a taste of Julie Jeffrey’s arrangement of the title track for the CD, from Henry Purcell’s King Arthur.