No access to console from X

I've just moved to an HP 8200 Elite, 3.1 GHz i5 from an AMD64 box. Everything is fine except that I can not get to a console using ctrl-alt-Fx. All that happens is the screen freezes and the colors get all crazy. ctrl-alt-F9 returns me to a functioning X desktop. Pretty sure this is intel video and the i915kms module is loaded (that *is* video, right?)

Is there a tunable that might correct this? Or an X config? A search yielded a bit, but from 2015. Certainly this is different.

Thanks much,
This isn't a solution to the asked question, but an alternative approach which might address the issue. Have you looked at x11/xconsole / xconsole(1)? If what you need is a convenient way to see console messages, that may be a workable solution, and is the standard solution used for traditional Unix workstations (which don't have the multiple virtual terminal mechanism).

Yes, the vt-switching should really work, but this could be a simple pragmatic alternative.

Edit: xconsole(1) is the original MIT Athena implementation. Some other desktop environments / window managers provide their own implementation of it (which is typically just a cosmetic variation of the original).
That did it alright. But why not make vt the default and have sc be mentioned in the handbook for special treatment? It (sc) is already being treated as the 'old way' so the devs should make it so, unless sc satisfies the greater number of cases. My new i5 (and the AMD X3 before it) are hardly cutting edge.

In any case, thanks,

And to you too Murph...