The Nightingale and the Butterfly - Pamela Thorby & Elizabeth Kenny -

This is a stunning disc of recorder playing (and lute playing for that matter) and where better to start than an extract of Elizabeth Kenny's final paragraph of her notes for this recital, for it describes the musicianship and mood to perfection:

"Soaring up with improbable but graceful and gracious velocity is something of a [Pamela] Thorby signature, to which one can only respond by closing one's eyes and reaching for something just a little bit higher. Then a bit higher still."

and this feeling permeates the recital, even when Kenny is playing a work for solo lute!

Comprising suites from d'Hervlois, Dieupart, de Visee, a sonata by Philidor and shorter pieces from de Visee (again!) and François Couperin - this disc is a varied diet of the French Baroque era. The playing, as vividly described by Kenny herself, is superb - self effacing yet completely captivating and exhilarating. One feels sucked into their world, yet on completion of the recital, a wonderful sense of being at peace with the world has instilled itself in the mind and one really couldn't ask for more than that!

The recording too is fully worthy of the music making and I have no qualms recommending this strongly to anyone who remotely cares about classical music of any kind. If only I had heard playing of this quality when I was given a recorder as a child...
26 July 2010