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Garden of Early Delights CKD 291

 Recercada segunda de tenore ('Trattado de glosas')

 Wat zal men op den Avond doen ('Der Flutyen Lust-hof')

 Derde, Doen Daphne d'over ('Der Flutyen Lust-hof')

Listen to/buy clips of entire album at LINN Records


BBC Music Magazine August 2008

Performance  ***** Sound  *****

This recital puts bells on recorder player Pamela Thorby’s already fine reputation, which she has steadily built through performances as a soloist and as a member of various distinguished period ensembles, as well as playing with jazz outfit Perfect Houseplants and featuring on some of Karl Jenkins’s albums. The album title’s play on ‘early’ and ‘earthly’ could effortlessly be stretched to include ‘earthy’: allied to a strong tone and precise articulation. Thorby’s playing exhibits a vitality, exuberance and earthiness that reminds me of the great David Munrow. It’s all underpinned by a strong lyrical sense, and her virtuosity draws up short of the efforts to epater les fogies characteristic of, say, Red Priest.

With sterling support (of course) from Andrew Lawrence-King, the programme spans the last part of the 16th/first half of the 17th centuries, covering a period when composers were experimenting with new ways of setting, transcribing and imitating song-forms, and conveying emotions without the aid of texts. Thorby and Lawrence-King even manage to suggest the ghost of a wan smile in Dowland’s ‘Weep No More’.

Barry Witherden


Gramophone September 2008

The title’s a play on both Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and Jacob van Eyck’s recorder collection The Flute’s Garden of Delights; but more than anything this new disc recalls Herbert’s line “a box where sweets compacted lie”. Straddling the Renaissance and early Baroque, the programme comprises sonatas, sets of divisions and arrangements of songs and popular tunes from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and England. This repertoire proves rich soil for Thorby and Lawrence-King, and the resulting cross-fertilisation of styles and modes of expression with a modern scholarly aesthetic enlivened by two of the keenest musical intelligences in the business results in a most satisfying listening experience.

Thorby maximises the affective impact of the music through an incredibly varied approach to articulation and phrasing - compare the lively glosses of the delightful opening track, Diego Ortiz’s Recercada segunda de tenore, with the evocative, floating lines of Giovanni Battista Fontana’s Sonata seconda. Lawrence-King is likewise alert to the rhetorical possibilities inherent in both his accompaniments and solos; in the former category, he proves an ideal partner for Thorby in his ability to think vocally, while in the latter his almost visual sense of line and colour is apparent, as in Biagio Marini’s Passacaglio and Dowland’s “Weep you no more”.

Recorded sound is nothing short of stunning, while the cover image of a hummingbird nicely encapsulates Thorby’s lightness and agility as she darts from piece to piece to extract its nectar. This is Paradise indeed.

William Yeoman


Early Music Review August 2008

…. These are sparkling and fresh performances of mostly well-known pieces, and you are sure to enjoy Pamela Thorby’s seemingly effortless playing of the glosas, passaggi and other embellishments on Ganassi-style recorders, as well as the more expressive pieces, some for baroque triple harp alone….. This is a most interesting and enjoyable collection, and the Super Audio CD recording is complemented by some really excellent notes in the booklet.

Victoria Helby


Utra Audio  August 2008

….Thorby and Andrew Lawrence-King, both stellar soloists who combine their virtuoso talents in ensemble playing of the first order. Linn Records has provided sound so clear that there’s no thought of a speaker being in the way. The CD tracks are excellent, the two-channel SACD tracks a bit brighter and cleaner, the multichannel SACD tracks warmer and more three-dimensional. This disc will cause a frown only if you find that your audio system is not up to the task of reproducing it.

Rad Bennett


The Irish Times 21 July 2008

The recorder must now share a place with the piano and the guitar as the most tried-out instruments. But the sheer joie-de-vivre with which Pamela Thorby and her harpist partner, Andrew Lawrence-King, open this new disc in Diego Ortiz’s mundanely titled Recercada secunda de tenore sets down a marker for the air of high-spirited celebration which is to follow, and which is a world away from what most budding recorder players ever imagine their instrument to be capable of. If you like free-as-a-bird recorder playing, this is for you. The always-invigorating selection includes virtuoso pieces by Jacob van Eyck, fantastical works by Castello and Fontana, and familiar heart-stirrers by Dowland.

Michael Dervan


Classical Source 18 July 2008

Harp and recorder is an irresistible combination, even more so when the musicians involved are two of the best in their field. Pamela Thorby, formerly of the Palladian Ensemble, has played with many of the finest ensembles and orchestras; she also dabbles in jazz and is a master improviser as well as enjoying a close association with the composer Karl Jenkins. Andrew Lawrence-King, director of The Harp Consort and himself a gifted improviser, runs the gamut of performance modes from solo recitals to directing Baroque opera and oratorio.

….Van Eyck’s minor-key Derde, Doen Daphne d’over has Thorby, on soprano recorder, tantalisingly adumbrating harmonies with a hypnotic lightness and agility. By contrast, Lawrence-King’s gorgeous takes on Dowland’s Sorrow, sorrow stay (Second Booke of Songes, 1600) and Weep you no more (Third Booke of Songes, 1603) are both dark and delicate, fully attuned to a vocal style of delivery and yet delighting in the expansive resonance of the baroque triple harp…The ensemble playing is no less impressive…..

Superbly recorded and with extensive annotation by Lawrence-King, this SACD release is sure to satisfy the legion of baroque-harp fans as much as lovers of the recorder.


Bay Area Reporter 17 July 2008 

Recorder player Pamela Thorby and harp and psaltery virtuoso Andrew Lawrence-King’s wonderfully recorded disc of renaissance and baroque music is a delight. The consistently entrancing program also scores points for its state-of-the-art, high-resolution SACD (super audio compact disc) format and DSD (direct stream digital) recording process, which together yield remarkable clarity on regular CD players, and create a realistic surround environment on multi-channel systems…..

…Thorby and Lawrence-King approach their virtuosic repertoire with consummate ease and joyful hearts.

Jason Victor Serinus


International Record Review 15 July 2008

From its punning title onwards, this disc is a most engaging production at every level.

At first glance, the duo’s programme might seem like a casually thrown together salad of works of disparate styles. In fact, as Thorby puts it, it is a mixed bouquet from the ‘Garden of Early Delights’, and a very captivating collection it is too….

….Although their playing is exuberant, only rarely do Thorby and Lawrence-King stray beyond the bounds of good taste. Thorby’s rather jazzy, dissonant passages, occasional deliberately distorted notes and abrupt octave leaps in Ortiz’s Recercada segunda and in Van Eyck’s variations on the naïve Dutch song Wat zal men op den Avond doen are rare instances of her enthusiasm overcoming good judgement. That aside, her execution is flawless, retaining a light, cleanly articulated nimbleness even in the most blindingly fast passages of the latter work….

The garden of later Renaissance and early Baroque instrumental music is Edenic in its richness. Thorby’s and Lawrence-King’s ‘bouquet’ is a small but enticing sample of its many delights.

Christopher Price


Diario de Sevilla 5 July 2008

Desde sus años del Palladian Ensemble junto a Rachel Podger y William Carter, Pamela Thorby se ha ido consolidando como una de las mayores virtuosas europeas de la flauta dulce. Acompañada aquí por el gran Andrew Lawrence-King, Thorby ofrece un bello recital de música del siglo XVII, de Diego Ortiz a Giovanni Bassano, pasando por Dowland, Fontana, Castello y, por supuesto, Jacob Van Eyck, el más prolífico autor de música para el instrumento, en el que las más espectaculares disminuciones se combinan con las dulces melodías.


The Telegraph – Best of the new releases  5 July 2008

No connoisseur of recorder-playing or Renaissance instrumental virtuosity will want to be without this delightful anthology. Whether on soprano, alto or tenor recorder, Pamela Thorby’s tone has a limpid clarity which gives a crisp filigree-like quality to even the most fast and furious figurations in pieces such as Diego Ortiz’s Recercada segunda or Jacob Van Eyck’s variations on catchy popular tunes.

This crystalline sound is equally successful in conveying the melancholy expressiveness of slower and less highly ornamented items such as Van Eyck’s arrangement of Caccini’s Amarilli, which also benefit from the imaginative use of harp and psaltery as accompanying instruments.

Elizabeth Roche


Manchester Evening News  27 June 2008  ****

RENAISSANCE music,when offered by today’s performers on CD, can seem to be an unvarying succession of dirges and empty flourishes - but this collection shows how wonderful some of it can sound in the right hands.

The recorder playing is virtuosic in the extreme - the opening piece by Diego Ortiz is a knock-out - and it certainly helps that much of the music comes from Spanish or southern European sources, where they seem to have treated even the pre-guitar plucked string instruments in the thrilling way we recognise as Spanish from later guitar works.

There’s a good selection of varied styles, with some solos for harp (and one for psaltery) as well as its accompanying role. Only the miseries of poor old English John Dowland change the mood of the generally sunny collection - I suppose someone had to.

Robert Beale


The Scotsman   20 June 2008  ****

WITH Pamela Thorby “bending it like Beckham” on the recorder, and Andrew Lawrence-King giving his Baroque triple harp a touch of the Bob Dylans, this Garden of Early Delights is no ordinary view of Renaissance and early Baroque music. 

The duo’s free-thinking style, laced with ebullient flourishes and mind-bending glissandi throw new light on John Dowland songs, Jacob van Eyck variations, and other delights. Freshness and spontaneity light up every moment. The music rocks; but always in the best possible taste.


Financial Times  14 June 2008  ****

Who would have thought the early 17th-century genre of instrumental chanson and serenade, brought to life here on recorder and harp/psaltery, could be so sophisticated and entertaining? Giovanni Bassano, Jacob Van Eyck and their confrères worked in an era that prized free melodic invention, simple rhythms, quicksilver flights and short, contrasting sections. Thorby and Lawrence-King play with evangelical spirit: this is music to warm the heart and delight the senses.


Audiophile Audition 7 June 2008

Pamela Thorby is one of the world’s leading recorder virtuosi and has two previous Linn SACDs.  Lawrence-King is one of the top names in early music with his own ensemble, The Harp Consort….

…. The literature of the period often refers to the “sweet sound of the recorder,” and that is the predominant sound heard on this disc.  There’s no danger of untoward tootles or squeaks from this recorder player - she navigates the speediest complex ornamentation with aplomb