Matthew Locke was Henry Purcell's direct predecessor at the English court and one of the best-known composers of mid-17th century England. Although this recording provides abundant examples of his harmonic genius, he remains less well-known than Purcell, whose melodic facility he lacked. This release by the U.S. group Wayward Sisters (which includes theorbist and honorary sister John Lenti) provides a reasonable place to start with his music: his compositions for "broken consort," or a mixed group of strings and winds, were numerous, and this release, the first in a series, covers only a small proportion of them. The collection called Tripla Concordia that frames the Broken Consort suites includes longer sequences of brief dances but is otherwise cut from the same cloth. The medium allowed Locke to merge the older style of English polyphony with the "concerted" or contrast-based style coming in from abroad, and this is accomplished in any clever ways in these little dances. Wayward Sisters, although their name may see them miscategorized as an Americana band, understand the music and give it brisk, lightly sentimental performances in something of a French style. The suburban Toronto church where the music was recorded is congenial to it, and in general the music provides the same mix of sophistication and fun that it did 350 years ago for its royal patrons.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Suite in G major from Tripla Concordia|
|Broken Consort, Part 1|
|Suite in E minor from Tripla Concordia|