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Newe Vialles

The viol consort Newe Vialles was launched in 2015 by co-directors Henrik Persson and Caroline Ritchie. The name reflects the “Newe vialles” brought to the English court by Henry VIII to replace the “old vialles” (rebecs or fiddles), thus beginning the long tradition of viol-playing in the British isles.

With a repertoire stretching from the early 16th to the mid 18th century, Newe Vialles is equally at home with polyphonic music from across the European continent as it is with the music of the English ‘Golden Age’. Distinguished by its unique core sound, the group aims to engage with aspects of performance practice such as rhythmic flexibility and improvised ornamentation, resulting in a performance style that is both vibrant and engaging to the modern listener, and faithful to the vivid rhetoric of the music itself. Their interest in the rejuvenation of the viol consort tradition has resulted in two world premieres of music for viols by Jocelyn Campbell (2016) and Giles Swayne (2017).

Recent projects include recordings of Buxtehude and Gibbons with the choir of Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Andrew Arthur), a programme of consort songs with Helen Charlston (mezzo soprano), and the establishment of the South West Viols Festival, an annual weekend of workshops, masterclasses and consort playing in Culmstock, Devon. From 2019 to 2023, Newe Vialles was ensemble in residence at Saxon Shore Early Music (Kenardington, Kent), where they performed a series of programmes of Elizabethan and Jacobean music, specially curated for this concert series. An ongoing collaboration with Blackdowns Early Music Projects in Devon has allowed them to premiere a number of smaller-scale programmes for two viols and continuo, one of which forms the basis of their upcoming CD.

Directors: Henrik Persson and Caroline Ritchie (viols)
Players: Jonathan Rees, Gavin Kibble, Kinga Gaborjani (viols), Lynda Sayce (viols and lute)

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Past programmes