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Baroque Recorder Concertos - Pamela Thorby - BBC Music Magazine

01 June 2004
BBC Music Magazine
Graham Lock
5 Stars

No one is sure which instrument Vivaldi had in mind when he designated three of his concertos 'per flautino'. Until recently the smart money was on the sopranino recorder, but for various reasons the consensus is now shifting to soprano for RV 443 and 445, sopranino for 444. Pamela Thorby takes this option for her versions of RV 43 and 444, the latter's high chirping lines so reminiscent of birdsong.

For her first solo recording (she's already well known as a member of the Palladian Ensemble), Thorby has added one other work for soprano recorder, Sammartini's galant Concerto in F, and two pieces for alto - Telemann's popular Suite in A Minor and Vivaldi's formidable C minor Concerto, RV 441. The suite shows off Telemann's cosmopolitan skills, featuring a grandiose French Ouverture, an enchanting Air à l'italien and a feisty Polonaise among its seven movements. Vivaldi's RV 441 is perhaps the most technically demanding recorder concerto of the Baroque era and requires an unprecedented degree of virtuosity from the soloist, especially in the brilliant, tongue-twisting outer movements.

Thorby meets these challenges with aplomb, playing throughout with a supple finesse and deft authority, while Sonnerie offer agile and sensitive support. A delightful disc.

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