Annabel Knight

Gordon Jacob: Chamber Music with Recorder

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Gordon Jacob, born in 1895, taught for many years at the Royal College of Music; one of his students there was Malcolm Arnold, and one can hear the connection in these little pieces for recorder. Jacob wasn't particularly a recorder specialist but wrote idiomatically for a wide variety of instruments in a neo-classic idiom shaped somewhat by English pastoralism and by the heritage of English music. Putting these influences together with a solo recorder was a promising line of inquiry, and it's not surprising that he wrote several works for the instrument, two of which are given their premieres here by the agile British player Annabel Knight. The finale of the Suite for recorder and string quartet (1957), commissioned by the great recorder revivalist Carl Dolmetsch himself, makes considerable demands on the player, but there are no extended techniques, and the virtuosity does not draw attention to itself. Jacob is at his best when he forces the specific implications of the recorder sound into his music for the instruments. A Consort of Recorders, composed in 1972 and performed here with the recorder group Fontanella, is a nice mixture of genre pieces in various styles fused with the Renaissance consort concept, and the Suite has a similar effect. The brisk Sonatina for treble recorder and harpsichord is another standout, with strong overtones of the dawn of the early music movement in Britain. The two works for recorder and piano (even though the Variations for treble recorder and piano of 1962 can also be played on harpsichord) make less successful use of the recorder, but, as Knight pointed out, the British repertory has been sorely neglected in favor of Dutch and German modernist recorder works, and this program is full of charming moments and fresh discoveries. Clear chamber music engineering at Suffolk's Potton Hall is another plus.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Suite for recorder and string quartet
1 2:28
2 1:13
3 4:32
4 1:42
5 3:11
6 3:46
7 2:33
Sonatina for treble recorder and harpsichord
8 2:44
9 2:56
10 1:55
11 2:04
Sonata for recorder and piano
12 3:02
13 4:35
14 2:20
15 3:31
A Consort of Recorders
16 2:18
17 2:16
18 0:58
19 1:13
20 2:56
21 0:37
Variations for treble recorder and piano
22 1:19
23 0:46
24 1:20
25 0:48
26 1:33
27 0:46
28 1:17
29 0:46
30 1:32
31 1:42
32 1:08
Trifles, for treble recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord
33 1:12
34 2:14
35 2:33
36 3:06
blue highlight denotes track pick