I wasn't sure whether to bother with this disc. I already have excellent recordings of these works by Fretwork (twice) and Musica Amphion, and I also found the name of the ensemble rather off-putting…and I was completely wrong to worry. This is excellent, and a very welcome addition to my collection.
These pieces are pretty well the last hurrah for the viol consort in England as tastes changed, but they are still quite fabulous works. They are richly polyphonic and show Purcell's remarkable harmonic invention. They are complex, beautiful and to me deeply satisfying pieces which I love – and that makes me very fussy about performance.
Fortunately, Sit Fast are excellent. They are a young French ensemble who are all superb players who have the technical skill to make even the most demanding passages sound perfectly natural, and they bring a wonderful sound from their instruments. They invest Purcell's music with real feeling and beauty, and I find myself quite spellbound in places on this disc. They bring character to the music while always making it about Purcell rather than the performers and, to my surprise, I think this may become my favourite recording of the Fantazias and In Nomines.