Recordings of Lennox Berkeley's music

Songs of Yesterday

Songs of Yesterday album cover
Format: CD
Label: BIS
Release date: October 2010
Catalogue no: BIS-CD-1785

On 'Songs of Yesterday', Dan Laurin opens up an unfamiliar chapter in the history of recorder music: between 1939 and 1989 Carl Dolmetsch, the great pioneer in modern recorder playing, gave almost annual recitals at Wigmore Hall in London, for which he often commissioned works with piano or harpsichord accompaniment. This is described in the informative liner notes by Andrew Mayes, who has also published a book on the subject. In his own introduction to the disc, Laurin remarks upon 'Dolmetsch's ability to inspire composers to search for a contemporary idiom adequate for the instrument, resulting in an unparalleled number of top-quality works which unfortunately have been largely forgotten.' Among these, written by composers such as Edmund Rubbra and Lennox Berkeley, Laurin and his partner Anna Paradiso have selected seven pieces which, to quote Laurin once more, give his instrument a rare opportunity to 'sing like a French impressionist (Ravel, Debussy!) or a Russian modernist (Prokofiev!) - all of whom can be heard through the filter of this English, post-First World War melancholy longing.' (Synopsis by Bis Records)

Performed by Anna Paradiso (piano) & Dan Laurin (recorder)