The fretwork ensemble is a viol consort from England which exists since 1986 and which plays music from 500 years. This ensemble does not limit itself to old music originally composed for viols centuries ago, but it also plays new compositions composed especially for this group.
A great example of this kind of new music for old instruments is the work The World Encompassed by Orlando Gough.
This composition is based on the voyage of Sir rancis Drake around the world. Drake had several musicians – viol players – in his crew who played for him aas well as for the foreign people. You can fid detailed information about the voyage of Sir Francis Drake in the wikipedia.
This composition by Orlando Gough merges new compositions with reflections of the native music of the visited foreign places as they might have been played by the viol players after they returned back from the long journey.
This music is fascinating, and I have listened to the music for several times now. The complet concert with The World Encompassed by Orlando Gough is available at the CBC concert on demand site:
CBC concert – fretwork – The World Encompassed – Orlando Gough
Fretwork has a repertoire that spans over 500 years. They specialize in early music and have distinguished themselves in their interpretations of Bach.
Fretwork has also actively commissioned contemporary composers ranging from Gavin Bryars to Elvis Costello to write new works for them. ‘The World Encompassed’ by Orlando Gough, is the most recent of these commissions. This hour-long piece describes, in musical terms, Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80. Drake took four viol players with him on his epic journey, and Gough’s piece uses original 16th century music to help tell this engaging musical story.
More about the program can be found on the homepage of the fretork ensemble:
The few hymns popularly sung at the time, published in 1562 & 3 by Sternhold & Hopkins, severe and austere, will be contrasted with the exotic and ‘strange’ music of these countries. The structure of the work is as follows, with the original 16th century music:
- Leaving Plymouth
- Robert Parsons: The Song Called Trumpets
- Preserve us O Lord
- John Taverner: In Nomine
- Maio Santiago Fogo
- Port Desire
- Parsons: In Nomine
- Terra Incognita
- The Humble Suit of a Sinner
- The Spanish Main
- Parsons: De La Court
- 180 Degrees: Homesickness
- Pavin of Albarti
- Picforth: In Nomine
- Da Pacem Domine
- Reaching Plymouth
- Parsons: The Song called Trumpets
Richard Boothby discusses Fretwork’s forthcoming concerts at Kings Place
Richard Boothby discusses a forthcoming concert with a performance of The World Encompassed by Orlando Gough with some additional information about the ensemble and its music
ELVIS COSTELLO (b. 1954) – Put away forbidden playthings (1995)
another contemporary piece composed for the fretwork ensemble
Homepage fretwork – with information about works and composers, programs and a player with some audio examples: http://www.fretwork.co.uk/
For over 20 years, all around the globe, Fretwork has brought music for viols to life through live concerts, recordings and broadcasts. Their repertory includes anything and everything that can be played on viols, from the first printed music in Venice in 1501 to music composed for them today.
Wikipedia (engl.) about Fretwork: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fretwork_%28music_group%29
fretwork about the composer Orlando Gough with a lot of information about the composition The World Encompassed: http://www.fretwork.co.uk/what/contemporary#page=Orlando-Gough
Program of a concert with the fretwork ensemble (to download as PDF follow “weitere Informationen”): http://www.ndr.de/orchester_chor/das_alte_werk/fretwork102.html
Wikipedia über Sir Francis Drake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Drake
Wikipedia über die Weltumseegelung von Francis Drake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Drake#Circumnavigation_of_the_earth