This release features several synthesizer-enhanced ballads that both excite and soothe, and ultimately provide a beautiful background for contemplation and meditation. Featuring guest instrumentation from Omar Faruk Tekbilek, the album is sensual and silky, with smooth dumbek beats wrapped in a blanket of exotic strings, guitar, light vocal sounds and stark ney flute harmonies. In the backdrop is soft and sometimes shimmering synth ambience, making this garden a place that makes you want to chill as well as be stimulated.
Pamela Thorby has been recording for Linn for most of the label’s existence, both as ensemble player and soloist. This time she joins Andrew Lawrence-King (except for a few unaccompanied pieces) in a varied program of music of the 16th and 17th centuries. In his notes, the harpist has an explanation for the disc title in the literary use of the garden as a place of earthly delights (Hieronymus Bosch’s allusion) where lovemaking is accompanied by recorders and plucked strings. His essay lucidly explains some of the terminology too often taken for granted in music of this period. Diego Ortiz, in Trattado de glosas of 1553, illustrated three ways of playing music on instruments; hence the program uses three of his examples at the beginning, middle, and end of this program.
This disc includes all the music for string quartet written by Louis Andriessen, recorded by the Schoenberg Quartet in the years before the group dissolved in 2009. Even in the early Quartet in two movements, written when Andriessen was 18, the composer's inventiveness and quirky sense of humor peek through. It's an affable piece, entirely professional and assured, with enough individuality to be recognizably the work of a composer who has something to say and the wherewithal to say it.