In its bell-like sonorities, clear textures and ritual manner, the piano music of Robert Saxton (born in London in 1953) suggests an almost oriental fascination with light and the way light refracts and diffracts – and yet it is audibly music written by an Englishman. In the two Books of Saxton’s Hortus Musicae in particular, this fascinating confluence generates a soundworld somewhere downstream from Takemitsu and Tippett, giving these gardens of music both a ceremonial dignity and sense of spring growth. Hailed as a pianist of ‘amazing power and panache’ (The Daily Telegraph), Clare Hammond is recognized for the virtuosity and authority of her performances and has developed a ‘reputation for brilliantly imaginative concert programmes’ (BBC Music Magazine, ‘Rising Star’).
This attractive mixed programme of Telemann’s works featuring flute or recorder has been designed by Ashley Solomon to celebrate Florilegium’s 25th anniversary. The triple concerto for flute, oboe d’amore and viola d’amore in E major stands out as one of the composer’s most beguiling masterpieces: the limpid opening Andante sounds like a serene evocation of sunrise that anticipates the mature Haydn by several decades; the soloists Solomon, Alexandra Bellamy and Bojan Čičić play with elegant finesse, and also conjure up refined melancholy in an intimately conversational Siciliana. The double concerto for recorder and viola da gamba in A minor is a charming example of Telemann’s taste for synthesising French and Italian musical styles with elements of Polish folk music; Florilegium’s civilised elegance in the French-style Grave, gently Italianate sway in the Allegro, and Solomon’s duet with gambist Reiko Ichise in the Dolce has pastoral sensitivity. At the heart of the programme is Ihr Völker hört, a cantata for solo voice and obbligato instrument that was published in the first instalment of the series Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst. Clare Wilkinson’s softly convivial and articulate singing communicates the cheerful Epiphany text.