François Lazarevitch - Van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lust-Hof - Gramophone

Jacob van Eyck’s two volumes of Der Fluyten Lust-hof (1640s) apparently count as the largest-ever collection of music for a single wind instrument by a single composer. That single wind instrument is the descant recorder (though other options are explicitly allowed). So it has been valued as the absolute bible for recorder players from the very day of its first publication. And a very large number of recordings have been devoted to its contents – not least a complete recording on nine CDs by the Swedish player Dan Laurin (BIS). But since it contains music from all parts of Europe, much of it well known in other arrangements, some recordings doll it up with different versions of the music.

The French flautist and conductor François Lazarevitch has approached the inherent problems here by leaving everything unaccompanied but playing on no fewer than eight different instruments: two recorders, five transverse flutes and (for only one piece) a hurdy-gurdy. So he has variety of sound; and he projects everything with considerable verve. There is perhaps room for wishing he had limited the number of instruments played, if only because the intonation is far better on some than on others and the contrast strikes the ear quite strongly. I happen to prefer Laurin’s approach, all on a single descant recorder and sticking closely to the notes that van Eyck printed. But I am sure many readers will be happier with the more varied and freer approach of Lazarevitch. One of his versions is available on YouTube, and listeners can decide for themselves.

01 July 2021