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Monteverdi - Laudate Dominum
Castello - Sonata Seconda
Sandrin/Woolf - Doulce Memoires
Fontana - Sonata Sesta
Ortiz/Woolf - Three Recercadas
Frescobaldi - Canzoni Terza & Quarta & Canzon detta La Superba; Se L'aura spira spira tutta vezzosa
De Rore/Woolf Anchor che col partire Jesu
Schütz O Jesu
Marenzio/Bassano Liquide Perle Amor
Van Eyck Pavane Lachrymae

Adam Woolf (tenor sackbut) with Siobhán Armstrong-harp, Kathryn Cok-keyboards,
Nicholas Milne-viola da gamba, Eligio Quinteiro-theorbo

SFZ M0510

This auspicious disc is one of the last arrivals for review in 2010 and if we were to go in for star ratings and Records of the Month (or Year) it would rate very highly for both.

2010 has been a year in which we have developed our interest in early instruments, to such extent that Steinways are beginning to feel anachronistic with such competitors as Kristian Bezuidenhout in Mozart, Malcolm Bilson and his team in Beethoven and Alexei Lubimov in Schubert.

Adam Woolf's solo CD is the first full-length commercially available recording which focusses on the sackbut as a solo instrument; precursor of the trombone, and more usually heard in solemn music in groups, e.g. His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts in Monteverdi's Vespers, it will come as a surpise that the tenor sackbut is a flexible, gentle and mellow-toned instrument which goes well with theorbo and harp. Usually I find CD marketing titles unhelpful and avoid them; this one however is spot on and apt for this 16 & 17 C music in which instrumentalists sought to imitate the sound and expression of the human voice, "the purest and most expressive form of music making" [Adam Woolf].

The disc is a joy from beginning to end, with the highest production values from engineers (Huw Morgan & Stephen Saunders) and booklet text and design (Adam woolf an Bridget Saunders).

The illustration above is of the whole group improvising (as sackbut players used to do) their version of Frescobaldi's Se L'aura, to round off a brilliant sequence of music making.

Peter Grahame Woolf