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Fretwork: The World Encompassed with Simon Callow


When Drake set sail from Plymouth in 1577, he took with him four viol players who had little clue that this would be such an epic journey. They played music to accompany Drake’s worship and sang hymns to the viols; they entertained him while he ate and he also used their playing to impress the natives of South America and Java, where the king returned the favour by sharing his own music.

Composer Orlando Gough has created a sound journey charting Drake’s remarkable feat, weaving music of the 16th century into his score, and illuminated by readings from Drake’s account of the voyage, given by Simon Callow. Simon Callow’s lifelong passion for classical music has seen him directing opera productions and appearing alongside various orchestras around the world as well as fronting documentaries and writing about composers and their work. In 1996, he directed Cantabile in three musical pieces (CommutingThe Waiter’s RevengeRicercare No. 4) composed by his late friend Stephen Oliver. Ricercare No. 4 was commissioned by Callow especially for Cantabile.

‘Fretwork is the finest viol consort on the planet.’ Stephen Pettitt, London Evening Standard

‘The winners have consistently excelled in a specialist repertoire, always with exquisite taste and polish. 2016 – their 30th anniversary year – again demonstrated their inventive programming and welcome expansion of the repertoire through commissioning new works.’ Royal Philharmonic Society’s award for ‘Chamber Music & Song’ 2017

Duration: 2 hours 5mins with interval

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