Garden of Early Delights - Pamela Thorby & Andrew Lawrence-King - Adiemus Fan Magazine

After leaving the world-renowned Palladian Ensemble in 2007 in order to pursue her own solo career, Pamela Thorby has been busy making new music as well as teaching the recorder and of course performing in different corners of the world, bringing the recorder family a well-deserved facelift it really needs. In 2006, Pamela started recording her next album for Linn Records, this time collaborating with stringed instrument virtuoso, multi-talent Andrew Lawrence-King, and the resulting album "Garden Of Early Delights" was released in June 2008. On this album, Pamela and Andrew have chosen to perform a repertoire of early baroque and renaissance compositions dating back to both 16th and 17th centuries, with the composer list featuring the names of Diego Ortiz, Jacob van Eyck, Dario Castello, Biagio Marini and the world-renowned John Dowland, to name but just a few examples. From this list of composers, only John Dowland is somewhat a familiar name, so it is great to see that there are musicians who want to bring also some less known composers and their works into the limelight. The additional information about the works and their composers that has been included into the album booklet only makes the listening experience more interesting, giving some in-depth insight to it all, which is a wonderful thing. 

Although there are only two instrumentalists performing all the pieces of this album, it sounds as if there were more than just Pamela and Andrew. The sound, produced by only two superb musicians, is incredibly vivid and rich, and from the album's very first bar throughout until the very last note the listener easily becomes part of the same exhilaration, enthusiasm and joy that both musicians share with each other when they have recorded the music for this album. No wonder that even the technically most challenging pieces sound so effortless and so easy-going, thanks to these virtuosos who definitely know how to make a musical instrument to sing, dance and rejoice! Another great thing is, that neither of the performers have been following the sheet music and/or performance instructions to the strictest point, the music just wouldn't sound this lively if there was no room for improvisation.

As mentioned earlier, this musical garden is full of different compositions, so there are many different moods as well.  Amongst all the song and dance, the musicians have also given space for more meditative and reflective pieces as well, letting the listener to just sit back for a while without getting intoxicated by the excess merry-making. For example in Dowland's "Sorrow, Sorrow, Stay" and "Weep You No More", one can almost touch the melancholy feeling that fills the air in the garden of music.

These days, it is rare to find an album that has been made by such a genuine and sincere attitude as "Garden Of Early Delights". This album really shows that classical music should not always be pompous and high-brow elitistic thing; it also can (and should!) be interesting, intoxicating and fun, not only for its performers but also for its listeners!

Adiemus Fan Magazine
14 January 2010