Christopher Simpson: Ayres & Graces

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Christopher Simpson: Ayres & Graces



Catalogue No:




Release date:

29th June 2015




59 minutes


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Christopher Simpson: Ayres & Graces

Simpson, C:

20 Ayres for Two Trebles and Two Basses

world première recording

Four Divisions for two viols and b.c.

Dan Tidhar (chamber organ / harpsichord) & James Akers (theorbo / baroque guitar)

Chelys Consort of Viols



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Not much is known about Christopher Simpson’s life, except that he was a seminal writer for the viol. Much of his music nevertheless goes unperformed, and the present collection of Ayres here receives its first recording, by Chelys, a British quartet of young violists whom have enlisted the aid of Dan Tidhar and James Akers in the twenty airs, pavanes, galliards and other dances that fall comfortably into five suites. The disc also features examples of Simpson’s Divisions, for two treble viols and for treble and bass viol respectively. As a result, the programme offers fascinating insights into Simpson’s music and the viol during the mid-17th century. By turns melancholy, lively and graceful, these Ayres are glowing examples from the tail-end of the great English tradition of music for viol consort – a tradition to which, some ten years after Simpson’s death, Purcell with his celebrated Fantazias would add the final chapter.

Christopher Simpson: 20 Ayres

No. 14. Pavin in D Minor

No. 15. Galliard in D Minor

No. 16. Aire in D Minor

No. 4. Pavin in B-Flat Major

No. 5. Galliard in B-Flat Major

No. 6. Aire in B-Flat Major

No. 7. Sarabande in B-Flat Major

Christopher Simpson: The Division Viol

Divisions for 2 Bass Viols in F Major

Divisions for Treble and Bass Viols in A Minor

20 Ayres

No. 1. Pavin in C Major

No. 2. Aire in C Major

No. 3. Sarabande in C Major

No. 17. Pavin in G Minor

No. 18. Galliard in G Minor

No. 19. Aire in G Minor

No. 20. Sarabande in G Minor

The Division Viol

Divisions for 2 Bass Viols in C Major

Divisions for Treble and Bass Viols in A Minor

20 Ayres

No. 8. Pavin in D Major

No. 9. Aire in D Major

No. 10. Corant in D Major

No. 11. Aire in D Major

No. 12. Aire in D Major

No. 13. Sarabande in D Major

Gramophone Magazine

September 2015

“Chelys pace the Ayres beautifully (the galliards are lilting, the aires tuneful) and ornament the repeats...Woven into the 'Ayres & Graces' are dialogues and antiphony, countermelodies, cascading sequences, chromaticism and hemiolas, to which Chelys and their colleagues Dan Tidhar and James Akers artfully draw our attention.”

The Guardian

6th August 2015


“each movement is worthwhile: the B flat major Pavin, to take just one example, is an especially toothsome feast of gently squeezing harmonies...Performed by the four viol players of Chelys and their keyboard and guitar playing colleagues, they sound wonderfully supple, propulsive and alive.”

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