John Jenkins, Fantasy no.11 a6

August 1, 2009

After years of nervous trepidation, I’m starting to tackle Jenkins and Lawes. The part-writing is of course a source of endless wonder for viol players. Not that I’m about to embark on a period of intense first-hand experience of them, but it’s worth pondering the score, the parts I’m most likely to play and of course recordings. Recordings have progressed in recent years to the extent that a complete Jenkins (or two) is now a reality instead of being an ideal.

I recently re-joined the Viola da Gamba Society of America, mainly to honour the fine contribution Martha Bishop has made in getting a full set of a5 and a6 consorts uploaded to their website.

Sheet music: Viola da Gamba Society of America.

Recording: Vingt ans Hesperion XX, dir. Jordi Savall. Auvidis E8522, 1994. Track 16, 3’52”.

Further reading:


ASHBEE, Andrew ed. and Peter Holman. John Jenkins and his time: studies in English consort music. IBSN 0198164616.

Of note to players: 

BB 1-5 Eight-note theme starting in bass, proceeding through all parts to Treble 1.

BB 5-12 Reprise of initial theme, moving through parts, culminating in a Gmaj chord, followed by dotted notes falling away from top to bass parts

B 16 Cadence, breaking into a new motif involving two quavers and a crochet, quickly moving between parts not dissimilar to bar 12.

B 17 Move to a further Gmaj cadence.

B 18-26 New theme of crochets starts with tenors and spreads to other parts.

B 16 Reprise of tenors with a briefly homophonic crochet motif, again moving to other parts

B 30-48 High degree of chromaticism in a move to writing with noticeably more minums and breves; stunning silence in all parts at the end of b.32; a new motif of minum-two crochets moves between parts.

B 48 Tenors start the final stretch, with a breve-three crochets-quavers motif spreading quickly between parts.

B 53-57 Tr1 announces the end with its minum-crochets-breve motif, repeated in 55.

 Conclusions: aural highlights would have to be bar13 and the chromaticism in bb.35-38.


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