Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Jacob van Eyck's Pleasure Garden

Dan Laurin (recorders)

BIS-CD-1375 [TT: 80'54]

If you think 81 minutes of unaccompanied solo recorder is a daunting and esoteric prospect, pause and read on!

This CD is but a sampler of some of Dan Laurin's favourites from his complete recording (10½ hours !) of van Eyck's Der Fluyten Lusthof, his magnum opus of 143 pieces

Laurin has been one of my favourite instrumentalists since he was flown in many years ago to launch a festival of Scandinavian music in London. He is a supreme virtuoso on his chosen instrument and a great teacher, one who is happy to join in unobtrusively with various chamber groups, e.g. Passacaglia at Greenwich.

His CD The Japanese Recorder (1993) was for me an ear-opener into the possibilities of this, until fairly recently, humble school instrument.

These pieces by a blind, conservative Dutch composer of the 17C celebrate the urban longing for the idealised pastoral life. They are mainly variations of limitless ingenuity and complexity on familiar tunes, "enormously varied from settings of the Creed to songs about prostitutes - a snapshot of urban life in the Netherlands in the early 17th century - - with 17 tunes that van Eyck adapted from the Dutch Psalter of 1566 from John Dowland (Excusemoy and Comagain), from German drinking songs (‘What shall we do in the evening?’), etc".

Laurin's notes provided a fascinating social history of the time; playing the flute fashionable for "nouveau-riche 17 C yuppies looking for social advancement"!

Varied timbres are ensured by the use of six different instruments, several of them copies of contemporary originals made for laurin in Australia.

Delightful relaxing listening if you are in the right mood.

© Peter Grahame Woolf