The word ’form’ doesn’t just indicate the shape of something, but is also the term for the home of a hare. Under the ambiguous title of Forms, Leveret publish their sixth album, recorded under the guidance of long-term collaborator Neil Ferguson, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the trio. Here they go back to their roots; in fact, the material they have chosen comes mostly from 17th and 18th century sources with a small number of self-penned compositions.
During this period, multi-awarded fiddler Sam Sweeney, concertina maestro Rob Harbron and legendary melodeon player Andy Cutting have shaped a new approach to traditional material; their trademark interplay, their interweaving variations and the warm atmospheres they designed have enchanted many listeners around the world and this new work provides no exception. Everyone who has come across their music will surely recognise their style from the first note of the opener Bass Hornpipe or from the delicacy of Filberts.
Woodstock Bowers / Alvin’s / Scarlet and Green / Nelson’s Maggot is arguably the most stunning track on this album and surely the longest ever recorded by the trio with its eleven minute length. After the energy and the many twists and turns of this set, the quite solemn Cotillion and the surprisingly meditative A Good Hornpipe provide a bridge to the second half of the release. The latter contains a good amount of moderate or fast-paced tunes like the lively set of jigs Princess Amelia’s Birthday / A Habit of Hill and the foot-tapping medley Oh The Days When I Was Young / Young Collins Rant, before Mr. Lane’s Minuet, taken from Playford’s dancing master of 1651, brings the album to a grand finale.
With their usual display of deep mutual understanding, Leveret have gifted us another milestone, and they did it doing the thing they excel at: playing with spontaneity. They craft intricate embroideries of sounds as their simultaneous variations overlap, creating sophisticated harmonies that, despite the freedom of their interpretation, feel, at the same time, as free as a jazz recording and complex as a chamber music suite.
It takes an immense amount of talent and experience to play like this close-knit trio does, Forms confirms Leveret’s reputation of one of the best bands on the British circuit and the most remarkable example of how English traditional instrumental music sounds in the right hands.Michele Mele
Released on 21 April 2023 on CD and download. Recorded by Neil Ferguson.
1. Bass Hornpipe
3. Blacksmith’s Morris / Queen’s March
4. Woodstock Bower / Alvin’s / Scarlet and Green / Nelson’s Maggot
6. A Good Hornpipe
7. Princess Amelia’s Birthday / A Habit of Hills
8. Untitled Waltz / The Derby Hunt
9. Oh the Days When I Was Young / Young Collins Rant
10. Mr. Lane’s Minuet