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Pleasures and Treasures - Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration
rec. various locations, 1965-2012
SAYDISC CDSDL436 [77:22 + 78:50]

Diligent readers of Gramophone of a certain vintage will recall advertisements for LPs issued by Saydisc, Amon Ra and Village Thing. Their tangy, unstuffy and rangy approach is reflected in this two-CD set which is much more than a sampler. The whole thing is well done and across half a hundred tracks the intervening silences are generous, as they should be when such variety is paid out. Contrary to my prejudiced expectations of a 'cottage industry' the sound quality is very good with Gef and Genny Lucena ('Mr and Mrs Saydisc') - Gef also sings - assuring us that they always use the best audio equipment available. Balances are 'in your face', brave and unapologetic and the results are enjoyable.

There are many delights here from a handbell version of On Wings of Song to a Blue Note Jazz Band version of Something Spanish recorded in The Old Ship, Redcliff Hill just before the pub was demolished. It was a delightful discovery to hear Jo Freya in A Blacksmith Courted Me. Her unaffected voice would work well with that of Rita Connolly and indeed with that of Maddy Prior (As Pants the Heart). Then there's Polynesian choral chant — nasal and rocking the roof-tree, it will wake the neighbours and blister paint. The Broadside Band is followed by Steve Tilston in the modern folk-rock acoustic It's Not My Place to Fail. Richard Burnett plays some Clementi on an 1822 pianoforte and also has the privilege of starting the disc with Beethoven's Sonatina in C. The latter is for mandolin and pianoforte and sounds for all the world like Anton Karas's zither. Hurdy-gurdy and harpsichord slug it out in Vivaldi's Il Pastor Fido before The Fairer Sax (remember them?) give an utterly dignified Pavane for the Earl of Salisbury. Stormy Weather Boys is an abrasively exultant sea-shanty sung in what feels like authentic style. Those close balances produce fascinating results with the Dartington String Quartet sounding like a full string orchestra in Mendelssohn's Canzonetta. More smooth Mendelssohn follows from the English Guitar Quartet. We end CD 1 with the imposing complexity of 12-bell change-ringing from the St Mary Redcliffe Bells.

On CD 2 we hear a Polyphon disc musical-box which pluck-chimes its way through The Village Blacksmith. An extract from a reading of Kilvert's Diary is followed by A Muslim Call to Prayer, recorded in Egypt in 1969. Fred Wedlock's Silbury Hill might remind some of you of 'Rambling Sid Rumpo'. You can sense the smoke stinging your eyes and almost hear the clink-chink of pint glasses. Music-hall cheekiness is represented by Fred Douglas's 78: Where Oh Where do I live but this is pushed even further with a 1913 78 called Too Much Mustard and then there's Ella Shields' 1916 Burlington Bertie. We bounce to the other extreme with a Sephardic Song from Lucy Skeaping and Burning Bush. The Turkish Dance, Cerga with its thudding bass and sinuous ways is a small step from the Sephardic Song. More spoken word then in a couple pf poems by Frank Mansell. Eileen Monger and her celtic harp treat us to Bonny Portmore. I have not mentioned the generous sprinkling of classical tracks (Ralph Holmes and Richard Burnett). We end with Cambridge Baroque's Allegro from Tartini's Flute Concerto in G.

The chosen venues include many locations around Bristol and further west at Forde Abbey Chard in Somerset. Give this a chance (2 CDs for the price of one). It makes diverting and varied listening and will have you wondering about the large back-catalogue maintained by these three labels and Wyastone Estate. Full details are given in the delightful 32 page booklet with a sustaining chunk of text for each track.

Rob Barnett

Full tracklist
CD 1 [77:22]
1: Sonatina in C (Beethoven): Mandolin and fortepiano: Stephens, Burnett [2:51]
2. Love Song Of the Grassland: Chinese instrumental: Jing Ying Soloists [2:34]
3. Sonata No.35 - Moderato (Haydn): Fortepiano: Richard Burnett [4:38]
4. Something Spanish: The Blue Note Jazz Band [4:42]
5. God Is For Us A Refuge & Strength: Monks of Prinknash Abbey [2:49]
6. Spanish Pavan: Renaissance band: The York Waits [1:35]
7. On Wings Of Song (Mendelssohn): Sound In Brass Handbells [4:25]
8. A Blacksmith Courted Me: Voice & viols: Jo Freya, Rose Consort [5:31]
9. Piano Quartet in Gm, K478 - Rondo (Mozart): Fortepiano & strings [3:26]
10. Himene Tarava (from Rapa Iti): Polynesian choral chant [2:34]
11. Liberta (Barbara Strozzi): Renaissance vocal trio: Musica Secreta [3:28]
12. Pavan from Capriol Suite (Peter Warlock): Best Of Brass [2:06]
13. Cuckolds All A Row: English Country Dance: Broadside Band [1:46]
14. It's Not My Place To Fail: Contemporary folk song: Steve Tilston [3:24]
15. Monferrina No. 10 (Clementi): Richard Burnett (Clementi pianoforte) [1:49]
16. Il Pastor Fido (Vivaldi) : Hurdy Gurdy & harpsichord (Nigel Eaton) [2:21]
17. Pavane for the Earl of Salisbury: Saxophone quartet: The Fairer Sax [1:39]
18. Die Nebensonnen (Schubert): German lieder: Ian Partridge, Burnett [2:21]
19. In Nomine a 5 :Crye: (Tye): Viol consort: Fretwork [1:56]
20. Stormy Weather Boys: Sea Shanty: Bob Roberts (voice & melodeon) [3:18]
21. Canzonetta (Mendelssohn): The Dartington String Quartet [3:55]
22. Ye Now Are Sorrowful (Brahms): St Clement Danes Chorale [6:38]
23. Song Without Words No 7 (Mendelssohn): The English Guitar Quartet [4:02]
24. As Pants the Hart: Folk hymn: Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band [2:26]
25. St Mary Redcliffe Bells: extract of 12 bell change ringing [1:02]
CD 2 [78:50]
1: Catch Me If You Can : Voice and bouzouki: Gef Lucena [4:17]
2. The Village Blacksmith: Polyphon disc musical box [2:10]
3. Kilvert's Diary extracts: Timothy Davies [3:01]
4. Muslim Call To Prayer: Egypt 1969 [2:27]
5. Violin Sonata Op. 50 in D - Rondo pastorale (Hummel): Ralph Holmes (violin), Richard Burnett (fortepiano) [4:37]
6. Silbury Hill: Folk song: Fred Wedlock [2:38]
7. Post Horn Gallop (Koenig): Clarion Ensemble [1:47]
8. Where, Oh Where Do I Live: 78rpm novelty number: Fred Douglas [2:48]
9. La Rose Enflorece: Sephardic Song: Lucy Skeaping & Burning Bush [3:33]
10. Concerto, Tomo 104 - Allegro (Vivaldi): English Guitar Quartet [4:20]
11. L:amour du Moy: 16thC French song: Musica Antiqua of London [2:31]
12. Cerga: Turkish dance: Hassan Erraji with Arabesque [2:40]
13. Cottager's Reply/I Passed By the Fields: Frank Mansell poem & song [3:38]
14. Sanctus (Worcester Fragments): Middle Ages: The Orlando Consort [1:58]
15. Gavotte en rondeau (J.S. Bach): Baroque lute: Nigel North [3:12]
16. Too Much Mustard: 1913 Jazz recording: Jim Europe's Society Orch. [2:50]
17. Estampie: Mediaeval English dance: Sine Nomine [2:12]
18. High Cauled Cap: Hammer dulcimer: Jim Couza [2:37]
19. Burlington Bertie From Bow: Ella Shields, 1916 recording [4:23]
20. Night Visiting Song: Scottish traditional song: Ray Fisher [4:28]
21. Bonny Portmore: Irish harp tune: Eileen Monger (celtic harp) [2:06]
22. Tom Bowling: English national song: John Potter/Broadside Band [4:40]
23. Overtone singing from Tuva: Amazing vocal technique [3:08]
24. Adar Mān y Mynydd: Beautiful Welsh folksong: Siwsann George [3:07]
25: Flute Concerto in G - allegro non molto (Tartini): Cambridge Baroque [3:09]



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