01_business_of_angelsThe Business of Angels - English Recorder Music from the Stuart Era

Alison Melville; Lucas Harris; Nadina Mackie Jackson; Borys Medicky; Joëlle Morton

Pipistrelle Music PIP1110

The recorder enjoyed great popularity in the Stuart Era and many instructional manuals and collections with repertoire of excellent quality were published in London. The preface of one such, The Genteel Companion, printed by Henry Salter in 1683, provided this recording with its title... “Musick, beloved of Heaven, for it is the business of angels; desired on earth as the most charming pleasure of men.” And while the recorder may have been fairly accessible, it takes a skilled and sensitive hand to do justice to an art of heavenly origins. And who better in modern times to lend a light and supple touch than local virtuoso Alison Melville, accompanied by Lucas Harris, guitar and archlute; Borys Medicky, harpsichord; Joëlle Morton, bass viol; and Nadina Mackie Jackson, baroque bassoon.

One of the delightful aspects of a cosmopolitan city like London in the 17th and 18th centuries was the constant trading and intermarrying of styles, creating new perspectives on traditional forms. Thus we have French-born composers like Luis Mercy setting Scottish ayres, and theatrical pieces such as Handel’s Rinaldo overture made especially delightful when transcribed for more intimate performance. Melville has scoured through ancient collections to gather sweet and refined sonatas by James Paisible, Godfrey Finger and William Topham set alongside Corelli’s well-loved Folia, and complemented by jaunty Divisions on popular grounds by Eccles and Tollett. A lively and charming portrayal of London’s sweeter side.

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