SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Garden of Early Delights” – 16 works from Renaissance and Early Baroque – Pamela Thorby, recorders/ Andrew Lawrence-King, harp & psaltery – Linn

A mixed bouquet of diverse, joyous, unusual and eloquent pieces

Published on June 7, 2008

“Garden of Early Delights” – 16 works from Renaissance and Early Baroque – Pamela Thorby, recorders/ Andrew Lawrence-King, harp & psaltery – Linn

“Garden of Early Delights” – 16 works from Renaissance and Early Baroque – Pamela Thorby, recorders/ Andrew Lawrence-King, harp & psaltery – Linn Multichannel SACD CKD 291, 67:01 ****:

Pamela Thorby is one of the world’s leading recorder virtuosi and has two previous Linn SACDs.  Lawrence-King is one of the top names in early music with his own ensemble, The Harp Consort.  Thorby had been associated with Linn Records for 15 years as a member of the Palladian Ensemble.  

For this program she has selected a variety of early music for recorder and harp or psaltery with the intention of not making it a dry historical document, but, in her words, “a mixed bouquet of diverse, joyous, unusual and eloquent pieces.”  She has well succeeded in this endeavor.  She plays soprano, alto and tenor recorders, and Lawrence-King performs on a Baroque triple harp, a Spanish double harp, and a Renaissance psaltery. Works by Ortiz, Van Eyck, Castello, Dowland, Schop, Bassano, Fontana, and Marini are heard, with two selections from some of those composers.

Thorby mentions a 16th century treatise by the first composer on the disc – Diego Ortiz – describing three ways of instruments playing together.  All three are represented in the program: free invention, variations over a repeating ground, and ornamented versions of madrigals.  With the beginning of “new music”  around 1600, the new technique of composing directly for a solo voice – vocal or instrumental – and basso continuo resulted in the types of works heard in this delightful program. The literature of the period often refers to the “sweet sound of the recorder,” and that is the predominant sound heard on this disc.  There’s no danger of untoward tootles or squeaks from this recorder player – she navigates the speediest complex ornamentation with aplomb.

- – John Sunier




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