COMPOSERS: Daman,Du Prez & Le Jeune,Mainerio,Monteverdi,Ortiz
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Alchemist
WORKS: Music by Monteverdi, Ortiz, Mainerio, Daman, Du Prez & Le Jeune (arr Pickett)
PERFORMER: Catherine Bott (soprano)New London Consort/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 031 DDD (1989)
This is fun music designed to induce either a dreamy tingle or a compulsive tapping of feet. Most works come from the medieval or Renaissance periods, and have been revamped to provide a vehicle for Phil Pickett’s imagination and the skills of the performers. There are also three pieces by John Du Prez (who wrote the film score of A Fish Called Wanda and much else besides).
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 William 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. Anthony Pryer