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Locke for Quartet

I’ve long been a fan of the consort music of Matthew Locke – composer and graffiti artist of the 17th century. Sitting chronologically between Gibbons and Purcell, his music is fascinatingly caught between two eras, and takes harmonic twists and turns in surprising and elegant ways.

So I was delighted to find that a fantasia of his was included on a new album by Ruisi Quartet, alongside music by Haydn and Oliver Leith.

I’m accustomed to hearing this music on viols and continuo, which of course has its own grainy appeal (see a recent record by Fretwork). But the greater brightness of the string quartet works beautifully here too. Perhaps more ensembles might pick up this fresh and charming music? My only complaint is that Ruisi haven’t given us more.

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