Music by Ashton, Cooper, Henry VIII, Preston & anon
The three members of Tasto Solo play organetto, hammered clavisimbalum and Renaissance harp respectively, and, notwithstanding the name of the group, usually together in ensemble. Any reservations I have about historical evidence that three instruments of this kind ever played music of this kind together are blown away by the sheer musicality and dynamism of Tasto solo’s performances.
Guillermo Pérez’s complete mastery of the organetto means that he can articulate and shape notes like on a recorder, while his fellow performers’ virtuosity on their respective instruments is also stunning. Repertoire which in some performances can sound dead in the water – who has not sat through stultifying renditions of dreary early Tudor music? – comes vividly to life here, while highly imaginative juxtapositions of the different timbres of the instruments and a wonderfully vivid recording make for a winning combination. If you have any familiarity with this repertoire, you will love what these musicians do with it, and – if you don’t – you will just be right royally entertained.
D. James Ross