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Les flûtes d’Angleterre — The delightful companion

Johney Cock thy Beavor [2.31]
Slow Scotch Tune [1.05]
Greensleeves to a Ground [3.58]
Pauls Steeple [3.15]
Tollets Ground [3.19]
Slow Ayre, Jig and Bore [2.55]
John BASTON (fl. 1708-1739)

Concerto no. 5 in D [5.01]
Gottfried KELLER (? - 1704)

A Ground [1.58]
William BABELL (? - 1723)

Concerto no. 2 in D [7.44]
Andrea PARCHAM (?)

So1o [5.51]
William CROFT (1678-1727)

Sonata in G [2.33]
Mr. HILLS (?)

Division by Mr. Hills [1.53]
Giuseppe SAMMARTINI (1693-1750)

Concerto a più Istromenti e la flauta [11.44]
Robert CARR (?)

Division upon an Italian Ground [2.53]
Robert WOODCOCK (1690-1728)

Concerto no. 3 in D [6.08]
Frédéric de Roos, flûtes à bec, and conducting "La Pastorella"
Recorded at the church in Our, Ardennes, Belgium, September 2001
Notes in Français, English, Nederlands, Deutsch.
RICERCAR RIC 220 [63.00]


If you have read many of my reviews you know I like to compare one recording or one piece of music with another. This recording has been utterly perplexing to me for some time because I couldn’t find anything at all to compare it with. DeRoos is a recorder virtuoso of such rarified attainment that he not only produces only the sweetest, most consonant, sounds, but is further able to use the notorious pitch instability of the "nose flute" to expressive advantage. He is more than a mere Heifetz of the recorder, he is a Mischa Elman of the recorder. Considering his ability to inspire these other musicians to play along with him in his style, he is a Stokowski of the recorder. In the Sammartini concerto we encounter the more or less conventional sound of a soloist and Baroque (one-to-a-part) orchestra, but what passion! From a recorder! But this is no ordinary recorder, this is a shakuhachi recorder!

Where did he find all these jigs, rounds, and chaconies, with titles like Johney Cock thy Beavor and Slow Ayre, Jig and Bore; all of them either anonymous or by people we’ve mostly never heard of before?

And where did they find all those synonyms so that they could write seven pages of notes and never use the word "recorder" once?

We’ve all heard some awful recorder playing in our time, but here there are no shrillness, squeaking, inappropriate jumps in volume or breathlessness on the part of the performer which can have the effect of making the listener feel short of breath out of empathy. Just the sweetest possible singing tone.

Many of these pieces sound very familiar, some because we have heard them before, others because they are in a folk-tune style that makes them instantly welcome, instantly old friends. Delightful is the word!

This disk (which is manufactured by Austrian Sony) will not play at all in my Sony DDU 1621 computer CDROM drive, but plays fine in my other Sony drives and players, including my Emerson HD7088 portable which is now and again just a little touchy.

Paul Shoemaker

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