AUGUST 2017: Our recording of the fascinating 16th century anthology "A Booke of In nomines and Other Solfainge Songes" (we refer to it affectionately as "31390" after its British Library shelf number) is complete! Please stay tuned for its release in 2018.
Many thanks to Catherina Meints, who made the peerless "Caldwell Collection of Viols" available to us for this project.
SEPTEMBER 2015: LeStrange Viols’ modern premier recording of the chamber music of William Cranford is the first major single-composer release by an American viol consort in more than two decades.
Little is known about the life of composer William Cranford (fl. 1630s) beyond his remarkable surviving chamber music for viol consort, a Renaissance string ensemble that attracted the best English composers from William Byrd to Henry Purcell. Cranford’s music—by turns sonorous, expressive, quirky, and forward looking—represents some of finest surviving writing for the ensemble. LeStrange Viols presents the modern premier recording of nearly all of Cranford’s surviving works for consort, including the complete fantasias for 4, 5, and 6 viols, the substantial and virtuosic 6-part pavans (“Passamezzo” and “Quadran”), and Cranford’s distinctive 5-part setting of the In nomine and playful variations on the well-known tune “Go from my window.”
Though not as well known to modern audiences as composers William Lawes or John Jenkins, Cranford was well loved by his contemporaries. Cranford’s consort music survives in several well-traveled manuscript collections of early seventeenth-century English chamber music and was praised by writers including Anthony Wood and Dudley North, who wrote of the composer’s unique mixture of “gravity, majesty, honey-dew spirit and variety.”
Included in The New Yorker's list of notable recordings of 2015 by Alex Ross.
The performances here have the highest degree of technical polish and animation, infectiously conveying the playfulness of so much of Cranford’s music. - American Record Guide