Although the first full consort of viols did not arrive in England until 1540, there were actually several intriguing examples of what are now called "consort" music from before that time. Of course, the homogenous viol consort became supreme, and the present program (also featuring some 2-lute arrangements) focuses on the first part of that repertory. This developed at Elizabeth's court in the 1570s & 1580s, among professional musicians, but based on relatively restrictive models. Some pieces in the present program are composed freely, heralding the next step in consort development which, along with the small output of Byrd, allowed the English consort idiom to fully flower. Of course that was followed closely by the even larger and more famous repertory of consort music by composers such as Gibbons which was eventually geared more toward amateur players.
Universal Music pay tribute to the short but prolific musical life of enigmatic Glasgow blues-rocker Alex Harvey with the biggest-ever, career-spanning, cross-label collection of his work. A total of 217 fully remastered tracks (with much of the material from the original master tapes) includes 21 that are previously unreleased, and a further 59 that are appearing officially on CD for the first time.