Recorder player Carl Dolmetsch, son of Arnold Dolmetsch, the prime mover in the early music revival at the beginning of the 20th century, was focused not only on the music of the distant past but on bringing the recorder fully into the modern era. Besides inventing the plastic recorder, which became a foundational instrument in elementary music education, he commissioned a variety of new recorder works. For this CD, recorder player Dan Laurin revives pieces by six British composers that Dolmetsch and his accompanist Joseph Saxby played on recitals at Wigmore Hall between 1939 and 1965, some accompanied by piano and some by harpsichord. Much of the music, either tonal or modal, has the pleasant, lyrical meandering quality that seemed to be a defining characteristic of a number of less-than-major mid-century British composers. York Bowen's unabashedly melodic 1947 Sonatina and Lennox Berkeley's 1939 Sonatina, whose combination of cosmopolitan sophistication, soulfulness, and wit are somewhat reminiscent of Poulenc, are the most consistently successful works. Edmund Rubbra's Passacaglia sopra "Plusieurs regrets," which channels Renaissance figures through a modern sensibility, is also effective. Laurin's performances are technically skilled and expressive, and Anna Paradiso provides able accompaniment on piano and harpsichord. The album should appeal to fans of the recorder and of tonal modern chamber music.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Sonatina for recorder & piano, Op. 121|
|Sonatina for treble recorder & harpsichord, Op. 128|
|Sonata for treble recorder & harpsichord|
|Sonatina for treble recorder & piano|
|Sonatina for treble recorder & piano, Op. 13|