Lawes & Order
Chaos and Confluence in Consort Music
from England and the Continent
Erica Rubis & Margaret Humphrey | treble viol Maryne Mossey | tenor viol
Julie Elhard & Rebecca Humphrey | bass viol
Saturday, oct 14 | 7:30 pm
Olivet Congregational church
The instrumental ensembles of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were called in England 'consorts', a misspelling of 'concert' which, like 'concerto', probably comes from the Latin verb conserere meaning 'to combine together'. Consorts were either 'whole' or 'broken,' the former and by far the most popular consisting of members of the same family - such as viols - and the latter of various instruments, as in Morley's Booke of Consort Lessons (1599), which is 'scored' for treble and bass viols, flute (recorder), lute, cittern, and pandora. The practice of playing in 'whole consort' began in fact in the latter part of the fifteenth century, becoming widespread in the following century. Most consort music is for treble, alto, tenor, and bass viols, and the two main types of composition are the fantasia, and that based on a cantus firmus.