The present CD remembers Alfred Deller, one of the most important pioneers and trailblazers in the category of countertenors, initiated by the tireless British recorder enthusiast John Turner. Besides Turner, on this cleverly arranged chamber music program based on the old and the new, one can hear the outstanding countertenors James Bowman and Robin Blaze.
In particular, the contemporary works convinced me, which include Michael Tippett’s miniature but extremely original Inventions for recorder duo, written in the mid 50s, Walter Bergmann’s intensive-contemplative Pastoral for countertenor and recorder, as well as an interesting song cycle by Bergmann for countertenor and guitar, which was originally written for lute accompaniment. Furthermore the Soliloquy by Alan Ridout for countertenor, recorder, cello and cembalo is a composition which could be welcome in today’s concert scene due to its instrumentation following closely historic examples. Peter Racine Fricker’s Elegy for countertenor, cello and cembalo composed in 1955 is the most impressive and in its musical language most advanced piece on this CD, music conveying British austerity and emotional depth. All this is arranged around a central block of early music: John Blow’s moving Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell is framed by two trio-sonatas by William Williams and Georg Friedrich Händel.
Even though the recorder is not exclusively the central focus point of the CD, it is presented successfully in very different contexts. Excellent musicians, outstanding sound quality. A valuable publication.