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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Daphne: The Flute’s Garden of Delights
Jacob Van EYCK (c.1589-1657)
Philis schoone Herderinne [3:02] *
Repicavan [2:11]
Doen Daphne d’over schoone Maeght [7:32]
Malle Symen [5:07]
L’Amie Cillae [1:44]
Boffons [2:41]
Phantasia [3:10]
Fantasia and eco [3:20]
Batali [4:51]
Engels Nachtegaeltje [3:09]
Fantasia [2:26]
Preludium of Voorspel [0:53]
John DOWLAND (1563-1622)
The Earl of Essex, his Galliard [2:12]
Pavan Lachrymae [5:25]
Excusemoy [3:38]
Courant, Now, o now I needs must part [3:02]*
Giulio CACCINI (1563-1640)
Amarilli mia bella [5:59]
Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621)
Psalm 9 [5:42]
Anthonello: Yoshimichi Hamada (flutes); Robert Gilliam-Turner (cornet); Serge Delmas (viola da gamba), Kaori Ishikawa (viola da gamba); Hilaire Darche (double harp); Marie Nishiyama (double harp); Rainer M. Thurau (flute)*; Isao Moriyasu (flute)*; Eamonn Cotter (flute, recorder)
rec. January, 2003, Koryu-center Hall Sagami Lake, Japan. DDD
ENCHIRIADIS EN2020 [67:12]
Experience Classicsonline


Daphne was a nymph of Apollo; the myth represents infatuation as much as fulfilment. This is a CD with a collection of music from the late sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth century inspired by the music which Dutch composer Jacob Van Eyck (c.1589-1657) either composed himself during his long and productive life during years when The Netherlands were at their artistic height; or which he collected from others. Presumably in pursuit of an ideal - as was Daphne for Apollo.
 
To say that Anthonello - a nine-person instrumental group with no more than three or four CDs to their credit - has taken liberties with these pieces may not be to disparage either Van Eyck or the other three composers (Dowland, Caccini and Sweelinck) represented here. The members of Anthonello, each a soloist in his own right, are clearly comfortable with the arrangements. But such an approach does suggest that Daphne: The Flute’s Garden of Delights comes closer to the realm of a ‘designer’ or ‘concept’ release than it does to a focused study or exhibition of the works of those composers in a linear way.
 
The booklet puts it plainly:-
 
They belonged, in a sense, to the collective memory of a whole continent, the fruit of which was a proliferation, at the time, of numerous “contrafacta” (the setting of a text to a pre-existent melody), a further element of cultural cohesion, capable of uniting – albeit weakly – the most pleasurable feelings of a Europe ravage [sic] by war. Van Eyck, thanks to his position as carillonneur, popularized many of these melodies, helping to recycle this unwritten heritage. He achieved the same end with his little flute, in the church entrance, inviting pilgrims to whistle or hum many other tunes, taught to them by their parents in their youth, or heard for the first time when they were sung by some foreign merchant passing through the local fairs years ago.
 
So the intention of the producers of this collection of a dozen and a half delightful but otherwise unconnected compositions is to see them through the eyes of a concept, whose cohesion may not be immediately obvious. Yes, Van Eyck’s Der Fluyten Lust-hof is a respected collection some ten hours long of mostly recorder music. Indeed, an excellent recording of the full work exists on BIS (775/780) by Dan Laurin. And, while there are many others containing excerpts, this CD from Anthonello strays further outside such mixtures than most.
 
Much is made of Van Eyck’s role as carillonneur – bell superintendent and specialist. And of his visionary approach to sound - and to sight: he was blind from birth. The distinct nature of the way bells work must have inspired much of the sound on the CD and not in any kind of over-percussive sense. Instead the impetus is music presented with less of a flow and more as a series of discrete episodes than is common in the Baroque. Indeed, the writer of the accompanying booklet suggests that Van Eyck resisted those prevailing styles.
 
If you’re stimulated or satisfied by arrangements for recorder and harp of Dowland and Sweelinck and swayed or persuaded by heavy rubato, at times almost jazzy overlays in the wind instruments and even a track that ‘fades’ as it finishes then this CD might be for you. You will also need to buy into the idea of trying to unify disparate compositions into a ‘garden’ on the strength that they’re likely to have come Van Eyck’s way as he tried to liven up dull Utrecht with melodies brought ‘on the breeze’ by visitors.
 
The playing is certainly accomplished and for the most part sensitive to the delicacies which Anthonello is so keen to accentuate. Only the Sweelinck Psalm and one of the Dowland pieces are not available on other recordings. There has to be a strong reason, though, why even competent music-making should not be in the service of something of depth and significance. Rather – like Daphne to Apollo – the fancy this time runs the risk of remaining elusive.
 
Mark Sealey
 


 


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