Philip Pickett - Alchemist - BBC Music Magazine

Most of the works come from the medieval or Rennaisance periods, and have been revamped to provide a vehicle for Phil Pickett's imagination and the skills of the performers.

The dreamy tingles are provided by Du Prez's Celtic Dawn and by the virtuosic vocal and electronic manipulation of a viol fantasia by the Elizabethan composer Willian Daman. For the foot-tapping, we must turn to the folksy Balkan dance melodies, the bumpy 'New Age' arrangement of a passamezzo by Mainerio and Pickett's bongo-enhanced version of a chanson by Le Jeune.

Alchemy, of course, was principally concerned with turning base metal into gold, and the version here of Monteverdi's Ave maris stella (sung almost throughout to a soupy and soporific 'oooo' sound) made me wonder, fleetingly, what the reverse process might be called - but this is a fastidious niggle by a pompous critic.

Enjoy, enjoy.

BBC Music Magazine
06 February 1995