Baroque Recorder Concertos - Pamela Thorby - Independent on Sunday

In the long-collared mid 1970s Michaela Petri transformed the profile of primary education's premier musical toy and made recorder concertos as ubiquitous as frozen lasagne. But baroque recorder style has moved beyond Petri's showy sopranino, as Pamela Thorby's sophisticated recital shows. If the clearest difference between the old and new styles is pitch - Thorby plays Vivaldi down a fourth, deepening the impact of Sonnerie's lively strings and making the recorder's tessitura closer to that of a flute - the most significant one is timbre. Thorby's sound is confident and deep, her phrasing pleasantly curvy, her nimble passage-work secondary to the harmonic development. The least virtuosic piece - Telemann's A minor suite - is in fact the most rewarding, with Sammartini's F major concerto a mere bauble by comparison. But there's little to fault on this beautifully played disc, and much to be relished.

Independent on Sunday
23 May 2004