John Turner on Lennox Berkeley’s Recorder Sonatina

Recorder player John Turner on Lennox Berkeley’s ‘Sonatina’.

This work, being deservedly a much loved and favourite part of the repertoires for both recorder and flute, needs no introduction. It is full of joy, beauty, and both memorable tunes and seductive harmony; the composer’s love for the instrument shines through. It is dedicated to Berkeley’s recorder-playing godmother Sybil Jackson, with whom he used to play duets. Three duets for two recorders have recently been published, dating respectively from c.1924, 1938 and 1955, the first two having probably been written for Sybil Jackson (at least one of them was composed at her cottage at Boars Hill near Oxford), and the last edited by Britten for Imogen Holst’s recorder compilation for Boosey and Hawkes. Later works for recorder were the Concertino for recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord, Op. 49, and a late cantata Una and the Lion, Op. 98, for soprano, recorder, cello and harpsichord.