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British Recorder Concertos
Peter HOPE (b. 1930)

Recorder Concerto (2003) [13:54]
David BECK (b. 1941)

Flûte-à-Beck (2002) [18:50]
Hans GÁL (1890 – 1987)

Recorder Concertino Op.82 (1961) [18:56]
David ELLIS (b. 1933)

Divertimento Elegiaco Op.54a (1996) [9:18]
Ian PARROTT (b. 1916)

Sinfonia Concertante (2001/3) [14:27]
David DUBERY (b. 1948)

Mrs Harris in Paris (2003/4) [3:55]
John Turner (recorder)
Camerata Ensemble/Philip McKenzie
Recorded: Hallam Hall, Stockport Grammar School; July 2004
DUTTON CDLX 7154 [79:51]

Peter Hope’s delightful Recorder Concerto perfectly lives up to its subtitle Birthday Concerto; it was composed as a 60th birthday tribute to John Turner. The music skips along with joyfulness and uninhibited lyricism, and ends with a happily dancing Tarantella. As in some of the other pieces heard here, it calls for the whole recorder family: treble and descant recorders in the Prelude, bass and sopranino recorders in the central Intermezzo. The Hope is the real gem in this selection.

By comparison - and in spite of its slightly humorous title - David Beck’s Flûte-à-Beck is a more serious, often understated piece cast in a more stringent idiom. It too calls for the whole recorder family. It is substantial and does not yield all its secrets at once. Similarly Gál’s attractive Concertino Op.82 composed in 1961 for the composer’s daughter. It is scored for string orchestra, but may also be performed with string quartet. Again, this is a superbly crafted and very attractive piece.

David Ellis’s Divertimento Elegiaco Op.54 was originally written for so-called baroque trio (recorder, cello and harpsichord) as recorded in An Image of Truth (ASC CS CD6) reviewed here a few years ago. In 2004 the composer made the present version for strings, harp and marimba. It is really superb and much warmer than the original setting. Composed as a tribute to Ida Carroll, it ends with a deeply-felt Chaconne.

Over the last few years, Ian Parrott composed a number of pieces for recorder mostly for or at the instigation of John Turner. The Sinfonia Concertante for recorder, violin, strings and percussion is one of the latest. As with David Beck’s concerto, Parrott’s piece also displays more stringent harmonies and animated rhythms. This substantial piece is rounded-off by a lively final Rondo.

This most attractive selection ends with a short, delightful dance movement by David Dubery - a name new to me - that provides an uplifting, joyful conclusion.

John Turner may well be the Carl Dolmetsch of our time. His untiring energy and whole-hearted enthusiasm have encouraged many composers, from varied stylistic horizons, to write again for recorder, and thus considerably expand the instrument’s contemporary repertoire with many worthwhile and often accessible pieces.

I do not hesitate to recommend this well-planned, varied and superbly played selection; pure joy from first to last.

Hubert Culot



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