Locke: The Flat Consort – Fretwork

January 18, 2022, 9:00 am

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Matthew Locke was born 400 years ago in 1622, and while he is often ranked as one of England’s finest composers, he is still unaccountably neglected. His music may not be as immediately appealing as his immediate successor, Henry Purcell, nor as wide-ranging as William Byrd, yet his forceful musical personality and luxuriant technique place him in the first echelon of English composers. Richard Boothby of Fretwork describes Locke’s music as having a “quixotic, capricious restlessness that is constantly challenging the listener to follow his argument…a thrilling musical ride.” The cover of Fretwork’s album bares an inscription in the walls by the choir stall of Exeter Cathedral, thought to have been carved by the composer during his time as a member of the choir there.