This 2-CD set is a re-issue of recordings made by Huggett and her group (then known as The Greate Consort) in 1995 and 1996 and originally issued by AS&V (CDGAU146 & CDGAU147, available seperately). A second release of William Lawes 'Royall Consort Suites' was issued in the late 90's on Chandos with the Collegium Musicum 90 (CHAN0584).
As standard works in the English Renaissance repertoire, Lawes' suites are of crucial importance to our understanding of that age and as such, its is good to have another fine recording with the indefatigable Monica Huggett leading the proceedings.
Another recent release featuring Lawes is by AliaVox with Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX (Consort Suites) and this is also an important contribution to the Lawes revival. It is hard to choose between three recordings of such excellence as each group brings their own particular details and mannerism to the music, all valid and important to the critical listener.
AS&V's recording is as clear as one would expect from this source and Huggett directs with consummate authority all around. For those who relish the prospect of hearkening back to those early days of Queen Elizabeth I, this collection is very representative of that period.
A final recommendation would be terribly hard but I still retain a slight preference for the Chandos version, although the collector will not feel short changed by this excellent new release.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech