Reinventions

Genevieve Lacey and Flinders Quartet
Classical, Early Music, New Music
ABC Classics
Reviewed by , September 1st, 2015

Recorder exponent extraordinaire Genevieve Lacey is the brains and lungs driving this engaging assembly of new meetings with old friends. She is aided and abetted by the Flinders Quartet, comprising Erica Kennedy, Matthew Tomkins, Helen Ireland and Zoe Knighton.

Recorder player Genevieve Lacey

Recorder player Genevieve Lacey

Six of J.S. Bach’s Inventions set the pulses of Elena Kats Chernin racing – and ours too. Various recorders and the strings play vigorous games, revealing all sorts of rhythmic and harmonic possibilities embedded in the master’s notes. Lacey’s tenor laments, her bass begins sombrely then breaks away into burbling laughter, the sopranino evokes school band fifes and jolly ploughboys. Kats-Chernin and Lacey are perfectly matched in these pieces, genuine re-inventions.

The Flinders Quartet

The Flinders Quartet

Calvin Bowman also looks to Bach, arranging organ and cantata movements for string quartet where they sit very comfortably.

Not so much re-invented as re-visited wearing a different costume are Lacey’s interpretations of Mozart’s wind quartets, one in D major, KV 285, the other originally for oboe, then re-thought for flute in C major KV Anh. 171/285b. Flute purists may regret the recorder’s absence of vibrato and find the tone colourless, even flat – not in pitch, heaven forfend, especially in sustained notes. The strings are at their most lustrous, with Mozart’s custom-built scoring.

Calvin Bowman (left), organist and composer, with Andrew Ford on the Music Show.

Calvin Bowman (left), organist and composer, with Andrew Ford on the Music Show.

Bowman’s Homage to Mozart comprises a stately Largo and a sprightly Presto, both for string quartet, both laced with implicit and explicit references to the scores of the hero and others who held him in equally high esteem. Spot the tune is always a jolly game to play.

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