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Christopher Simpson (c.1605-69): Ayres & Graces / Chelys Viol Consort; Dan Tidhar, chamber organ & harpsichord; James Akers, theorbo & baroque guitar

Audio Samples

  1. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 14, Pavin in D Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  2. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 15, Galliard in D Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  3. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 16, Aire in D Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  4. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 4, Pavin in B-Flat Major $0.99 on iTunes
  5. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 5, Galliard in B-Flat Major $0.99 on iTunes
  6. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 6, Aire in B-Flat Major $0.99 on iTunes
  7. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 7, Sarabande in B-Flat Major $0.99 on iTunes
  8. Simpson — The Division Viol: Divisions for 2 Bass Viols in F Major $0.99 on iTunes
  9. Simpson — The Division Viol: Divisions for Treble & Bass Viols in A Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  10. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 1, Pavin in C Major $0.99 on iTunes
  11. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 2, Aire in C Major $0.99 on iTunes
  12. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 3, Sarabande in C Major $0.99 on iTunes
  13. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 17, Pavin in G Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  14. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 18, Galliard in G Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  15. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 19, Aire in G Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  16. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 20, Sarabande in G Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  17. Simpson — The Division Viol: Divisions for 2 Bass Viols in C Major $0.99 on iTunes
  18. Simpson — The Division Viol: Divisions for Treble & Bass Viols in A Minor $0.99 on iTunes
  19. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 8, Pavin in D Major $0.99 on iTunes
  20. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 9, Aire in D Major $0.99 on iTunes
  21. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 10, Corant in D Major $0.99 on iTunes
  22. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 11, Aire in D Major $0.99 on iTunes
  23. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 12, Aire in D Major $0.99 on iTunes
  24. Simpson — 20 Ayres: No. 13, Sarabande in D Major $0.99 on iTunes

Album Summary

>Simpson, Christopher : Ayres (20) for 2 treble viols & 2 bass viols
>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions for 2 bass viols in F
>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions in A minor for 3 bass viols
>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions on a Ground for 2 bass viols in C major
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

About Christopher Simpson’s life not much is known except that he was a seminal writer for the viol. Modern violists use his 17th c. manual as a guide to the practice of ‘divisions’, the improvised embellishments so fashionable during his time. Much of his music nevertheless goes unperformed; the present collection of Ayres here receives its first recording by Chelys, a British quartet of young violists, with the aid of Dan Tidhar and James Akers. By turns melancholy, lively and graceful, these Ayres are glowing examples from the tail end of the great English tradition of viol consort music.

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.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
In addition to the 20 Ayres, this recording includes four of Simpson's divisions for pairs of viols and continuo. Divisions were preeminently the improvisation of variations over a ground bass. He was highly respected by his contemporaries as a master of the genre.

The London-based viol consort Chelys consists of young graduates of Trinity College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. They have performed at the principal early music festivals in Britain, and several new works have been written especially for them. The recorded sound is warm and clear, setting off the luscious tone of the instruments. It is an auspicious first recording of this rare music.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Girton College Chapel, Cambridge, England (07/2013).



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Works Details

>Simpson, Christopher : Ayres (20) for 2 treble viols & 2 bass viols
  • Performer: James Akers (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Chelys Consort of Viols
  • Running Time: 46 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions for 2 bass viols in F
  • Performer: Dan Tidhar (Chamber Organ)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions in A minor for 3 bass viols
  • Performer: Dan Tidhar (Harpsichord)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 16th Century

>Simpson, Christopher : Ayres (20) for 2 treble viols & 2 bass viols
  • Performer: Dan Tidhar (Chamber Organ)
  • Ensemble: Chelys Consort of Viols
  • Running Time: 46 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions on a Ground for 2 bass viols in C major
  • Performer: James Akers (Theorbo)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Simpson, Christopher : Divisions in A minor for 3 bass viols
  • Performer: Dan Tidhar (Chamber Organ)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 16th Century

>Simpson, Christopher : Ayres (20) for 2 treble viols & 2 bass viols
  • Performers: James Akers (Theorbo); Dan Tidhar (Chamber Organ)
  • Ensemble: Chelys Consort of Viols
  • Running Time: 46 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque