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Clementi & Locke (Helios)

Sonatas Op 24/2; 25/5; 40/2 & 3
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Hyperion "Helios" CDH55227
(Originally issued on Hyperion CDA66808) [December 1994: 69']






Locke: The Broken Consort

The Parley of Instruments
Judy Tarling, Theresa Caudle (violins), Mark Caudle, Susanna Pell (bass viols), Paul O'Dette, Fred Jacobs, Elizabeth Kenny (theorbos), Peter Holman (director, chamber organ)
Hyperion "Helios" CDH55255 (Originally issued on Hyperion CDA66727) [February 1994: 66']


Alongside the interest and vigorous promotion of new releases, it is salutory to keep an eye on re-releases. They are likely to have been chosen knowingly for their quality and proven worth.

Two examples this month from Hyperion merit this attention and both have given us great pleasure.

Nikolai Demidenko
's playing of Clementi quickly scotches Mozart's famous put-down (not a pennyworth of feeling - simply a mechanicus"). The slow movements are truly moving, and the quick ones scintillate. Demidenko is vastly assisted by the acoustics of The Maltings and by Peter Salisbury's preparation of the Steinway. Demidenko's touch is so exactly in tune with the music that I have no regrets that it is not being played on an instrument of the time.

Matthew Locke's Suites for broken consorts (bowed and plucked strings) are interspersed with duos for two bass viols. The music is a culmination of the tradition begun by Byrd and his contemporaries, a repertory soon to pass into (temporary) oblivion because Charles II preferred "music he could beat time to", rather than the contrapuntal intricacies of Locke's fantasias, which are characterised by wonderful melody and part-writing "often delightfully angular and quirkily dissonant", features appreciated in our own time.

Two to grace any collection.

© Peter Grahame Woolf