John Ward (1590–1638); William Lawes (April 1602 – 24 September 1645)
Not much in it by the birth and death dates, but a world of difference in their consort music for largish ensembles. (Lawes's music for solo viol and two viols seems a different kettle of fish - different genre almost.)
My feeling is that John Ward is much less influenced by the galant idea of simple emotional sunniness, and a lyrical soloist padded out by the other instruments, an idea which may well come from Corelli and which, IMO, heralded a sort of dumbing down of music all over Europe.
Ward sounds much more like earlier music, with more interesting inner voices, more varied affects, more striking dissonances, more surprising twists and turns, less extrovert virtuoso stuff, more meditation. I couldn't help but think of chamber music by Scheidemann, Scheidt, Buxtehude and Frescobaldi.
Phantasm seem well up to the task in this recording, it's a good thing they've taken Ward under their wing because, as far as I can see, everyone else ignores him. Both in concert and on record I've sometimes been disturbed by the sort of balance Phantasm favours, which seems to me to give prominence to the higher voices. But here it seems less worrying for some reason.