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The Division Flute (1706)

Emma Murphy (recorders) & colleagues

Signum Classics SIGCD 125

Strange how an involving live event (Greenwich Festival of Early Music, November 2006) * can go cold transferred onto CD...

I have struggled in several sessions to listen through this worthy new disc - it seemed to be suitable for mealtime accompaniment, like Telemann's Tafelmusik, but even there our efforts finally came to a halt when at breakfast "interminable !" riposted my wife - as it happened, during one of the "sophisticated pieces based on more complex grounds" (Peter Holman).

Emma Murphy, supported by distinguished colleagues, plays with a will on her four instruments, and everything is documented thoroughly. But at the end of the day it is a CD recommendable really only to active recorder players, who will want to introduce a few of these pieces into their repertoires.

But wall-to-wall Divisions (i.e. grounds) just does not work, and it is disingenuous of Emma to supply her own review in the insert booklet: "a fun and stimulating event - - what we all think is a great disc - - ".

* Emma Murphy (recorders) with William Lyons (dulcian and recorder) James Akers (baroque guitar) David Hatcher (gamba) & Steven Devine (harpsichord) - - at Blackheath a keen semi-improvising group supported former Moerck winner & PLG Young Musician Emma Murphy's recorders in her Divisions on a Ground recital of late 17C English music. She is a versatile recorder player and singer who has maintained her interest in contemporary music for her instruments. The invigorating programme delighted those who made it to the other side of the Heath, with the items worked up from rudimentary scores and embellished spontaneously as they went. A CD is promised from Signum next year...

Divisions and Fantasias

George Tollett John Coprario Hugh Aston William Lawes Christopher Simpson David Mell

Saskia Coolen - recorder/viola da gamba; Rainer Zipperling - viola da gamba;
Patrick Ayrton - harpsichord, organ

Globe GLO 5227

This varied programme is more succesful than that reviewed above. The Fantasia suites of Lawes and Coprario balance well the grounds by Tollett, Mell etc and the group rings the changes on their instruments to good effect.

Saskia Coolen's documentation, as usual with Globe, is thorough and printed unfussily with strong black ink on glossy white paper.

Peter Grahame Woolf