Taracea: Seldom Sene
The subtitle suggests a spanning of ‘five centuries’; I make it six, perhaps even seven. Be that as it may, the range of styles in this enterprising recital is only the most striking of several distinctive features. The programme is carefully chosen, the passage between styles cleverly judged on the whole, the contemporary works included here being especially well integrated. The only possible stylistic ‘dissonance’ to strike me forcibly was the sudden jolt from Max Reger into the finale of Bach’s Sixth Brandenburg Concerto – oddly enough, since other juxtapositions that seem more forced on paper work better.
The fugal Bach Fantasia, BWV904, is more satisfying, for the recorder consort’s wonderful transparency makes it an effective vehicle for polyphony: Cabezón’s setting of Susanne un jour and the Holborne Pavan and Almain are a delight. Boismortier’s Concerto Op 15 No 2 is one of the discoveries of the disc, and Frenzel’s brooding setting of Aus tiefer Not shows off the consort’s lower instruments to great effect. The recorder consort’s limitations as a chamber ensemble show, however, when the music seems to demand a grittier timbre or a more emphatic approach to phrasing, as in the Tye In nomine or Jacobus Gallus’s chromatic Mirabile mysterium. But these observations are outweighed by the commitment, technical versatility, unanimity of ensemble and near-immaculate tuning on display.