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Concerto Caledonia - Mungrel Stuff - Early Music Review

22 September 2001
Early music review
D James Ross

I should start by saying that this disc is enormous fun! Concerto Caledonia have sniffed out some very attractive material and given it infectiously enthusiastic performances using a selection of eighteenth-century instruments and voices.  There is considerable freedom exercised in the editing of the sources and in the ornamentation as well as the instrumentation of these tunes, but i am sure that this is absolutely the right approach to allow the music to come back to life, and the present disc is a vivid indication of the method. In addition to utilising articulations and ornaments borrowed from traditional musicians, David McGuinness spearheads the rhythmical OEclout¹ as a punctuation device, while Chris Norman's easy technical prowess seems to inspire the other instrumentalists to heights of laid-back virtuosity. The vocal contributions by Mhairi Lawson and Jamie McDougall are also extremely engaging, and if I have slight reservations about the complete appropriateness of the latter's vocal quality, Mhairi Lawson is as well cast as I have heard her. Pronunciation, too has been carefully considered and is generally convincing, while the decision not to edit out the sounds of the stop changes on the 1793 Broadwood harpsichord and other necessary extraneous noises gives the performance a wonderfully spontaneous edge. OEMungrel Stuff¹ this may be, but it receives a pedigree performance here!
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