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Byrd, Telemann
& Baroque and traditional music from the British Isles

William Byrd

Complete Consort Music


Linn CKD 372

Three discs which serendipitously arrived together for review. My heart doesn't leap at the sight of a new intégrale to consider, but Byrd's is different.

Laurence Dreyfus explains how Phantasm's sequencing contrives a continuous flow between different musical genres, with each of those often unrecognisable from their opening gestures; a tantalising voyage of discovery.

A marvellous disc in all important respects, gorgeous ounds of a viol consort to convert doubters and all the scholarship behind it; recording immaculate as to be expected, and liner notes in clear white-on-black readability.

Telemann - The Recorder collection

BIS CD 1488/90 - six CDs

Telemann, more famous than JSBach in his time, before tastes veered towards the more learned and serious in the 19 C, remains under-rated, partly because of his fecundity comparable with Vivaldi's, and often denigrated on that account.

Six CDs of his recorder music? Dan Laurin and Robert von Bahr (founder/director of BIS) wouldn't have guessed when they recorded Telemann's solo sonatas in 1994 that this was to grow into a project to reach completion in 2008, with two sonatinas for recorder, cello & harpsichord.

Meanwhile, with Clas Pehrsson taking the main brunt of the task, they have assembled a wide variety of music by recorder plyers' favourite composer, with unaccompanied duets, sonatas with basso continuo, double concertos, and culminating with the great Suite in A minor and two solo concertos featuring Pehrsson with the Drottingholm Baroque Ensemble.

You won't better those two recorder virtuosi. A real feast and a bargain too, with the six discs boxed "for the price of three".

Telemann - Chamber Cantatas & Trio Sonatas

Musica Pacifica

Christine Brandes soprĀ· Jennifer Lane mezzo-sop

Dorian DOR-93239

A superbly conceived and presented collection of Telemann's chamber music scotches any residual notion that baroque music is the province of European specialists. This is a great programme of chamber cantatas (with two well contrasted singers) and sonatas featuring the mellow 'voice-flute' in D.

A batch of Musica Pacifica's CDs received from San Francisco proves a veritable treasure trove. Only time constraints preclude reviews of each and every one, but sampling has established that they have a standard unsurpassed anywhere.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See Giordano Bruno's full review of this disc and go to Musica Pacifica's website.

Vivaldi Concertos & Sonatas [Dorian DSL-93252] is a delight, as is Vivaldi, Tartini & Sammartini [Dorian DSL-90704], its notes by Kate van Orden stressing how 'composers' of the time were primarily famed as great performers.

Musica Pacifica "Dancing in the Isles"

Judith Linsenberg (recorder)
Elizabeth Blumenstock (baroque violin)
David Morris (baroque cello and viola da gamba)
Charles Sherman (harpsichord)
Robert Mealy (baroque violin & writer of liner notes - centre)
Charles Weaver (theorbo and baroque guitar)
Peter Maund (percussion)

Solimar 101

Lighter fare but no less learned is the San Francisco group Musica Pacifica's take on music of the British Isles, with emphasis on dancing of the time.

Ingenious juxtapositions and fabulous playing by "some of the finest baroque musicians in America" (American Record Guide) and make this a wonderful listen.

We unashamedly enjoyed mixing it with Byrd's consort music over two breakfast-times...

This one has a plus - the delightfully illustrated book-style presentation; so do get it in the the CD version!

Peter Grahame woolf