“Amaryllis” = Music for Recorders and Chalumeau with Frame Drums and Percussion – Nina Stern (recorders & chalumeau)/ Glen Velez (frame drums & percussion) – MSR Classics MSR1577, 55 mins. (5/30/15) [Distr. Albany] *****:
If you think you can stand a whole CD’s worth of music for recorder or chalumeau and frame drum or percussion, and you fancy a cosmopolitan range of sophisticated composers the likes of Arakel Siunetsi, Nerses Shnorhali, Sayat Nova and Jacob van Eyck, who even better are known mostly to cognoscenti, then Music for Recorders and Chalumeau with Frame Drums and Percussion is for you.
The repertoire ranges from the 12th through 18th centuries, and winds up with an exquisitely unique solution to “Greensleeves.” The pleasures are not only gentle and real, they sometimes connect with deep inner feelings. As Maestro Ganassi, that celebrated member of the official wind band of the Venetian state, who wrote the important 16th-century treatise La Fontegara (1535), observed, “The recorder comes close to the sound of the human voice.”
The combination of Nina Stern playing variously six different recorders, and a diverting chalumeau, and Glen Velez playing a shruti box, an Eckermann Turkish drum, a Bruno Spana tamburello, a 20” Cooperman bodhran and a Contemporanea Surdo Frame Drum, for starters, is curiously intimate. The sound, recorded at Mozart Studios in Clifton, New Jersey, is exquisite.