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The Domestication of the Animal World
Consort music from the 16th and 17th century

William Brade (1560-1630)
Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
Wlllam Byrd (c.1540-1623
Christopher Tye (c.1505-1571)
(Anonymous - In Nomine)
Elway Bevin (c.1554-1638)
Hugh Ashton (c.148So1558)

Brisk Recorder Quartet Amsterdam (Alide Verheij, Marjan Banis, Saskia Coolen, Bert Honig) with Susanne Braumann, Saskia Coolen and Rainer Zipperling, viola da gamba, Constance Allanic, harp

Animations Marissa Delbressine, Wouter de Graaf, Marjolijn Handcock, Ting Sui Lo

Globe Glo 5228 [CD + DVD]

For families with some interest in early music and instruments this will be a marvellous Christmas acquisition. The photo is of the hands and instruments of the recorder players.

The music, recorded early this year by former students of the Sweelinck Academy with versatile string playng colleagues, is a delightful selection of pieces from the period, some serious, most lighter. Brade was unknown to me, his seven pieces made perfect mealtime listening.

The Campion suite from a Masque of 1613 is given twice; straight on the CD and again separately on a half hour bonus DVD of animation films made collectively by four students of Art, Media & Technology in Utrecht (. Their collaboration on this unusual project (normally film comes first, music for film afterwards) is discussed in interviews.

They distinguish their work from 'cartoons', characterising it as 'the bringing to life of whatever you can draw, fold, paste or create with a computer to seem to move, live, think and experience...' The techniques are sophisticated and various (the camel drawn in sand; the nightingale directly onto film - 4224 individual drawings ! - the bear with charcoal and chalk, etc) and the sequence is drawn together with harp interludes, representing the Harp of Orpheus from which all the animals are created.

The whole thing is a delight.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Two more Brisk Recorder Quartet CDs have been received and each has individuality and careful, well balanced programming to recommend it.

Schein & Scheidt were exact contemporaries when consort music thrived in the 17th Century in Germany. Delightful music, recorders complemented judiciously with gambas, lirone and keyboards [Globe GLO 5220].

Vintage Brisk [Globe GLO 5220], an anthology of contemporary pieces composed for Brisk Recorder Quartet (with piano & vocal quartet) is more variable, as always with such projects; one or two each by composers from their own country, inevitably leaving no rounded picture of their music. They surely have web presences, and extensive reseach via Google would be desirable, if time allowed...

I was pleased to come across again the composer Guus Janssen, who had caught my interest at the beginning of the century, never to have come up since; q.v. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Jan01/janssen.htm

And especially to hear again the unusual contemporary pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama, whom I celebrated in Amsterdam by taking some unusual photos, to be found at http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2000/sept00/gaudeamus.htm and http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2000/sept00/otherphotos.htm, not to be missed!

The most extraordinary and memorable track of Vintage Brisk is de Graaff's The Brisk Frog Project for adapted soprano recorders and numerous frogs and toads, which brought to mind Frank Denyer's marvellous After the Rain from his innovative A Monkey's Paw [Continuum CCD 1026], one of my top favourite CDs, which I trust the Brisks know?


Sweelinck & The Art Of Variation

Brisk Recorder Quartet Amsterdam: Camerata Trajectina

globe GLO5253

As esoteric a CD as you are likely to encounter on Musical Pointers. When Sweelinck started improvising, apparently he couldn't stop.

Here are many variations on popular tunes, sung in Dutch and played on recorders and a mixed group.

They make for pleasant enough background tafelmusik but quickly sound samey. There are also two dark, long, solemn forgettable compositions by Dutch contemporary composers...

For determined specialists only !

Peter Grahame Woolf