Jacob van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lust-hof

Erik Bosgraaf recorders
212:50 (3 CDs in a box)
Brilliant Classics 93391

This generous selection of music from van Eyck’s iconic Fluyten Lust-hof on three CDs is certainly the best account of this music I have heard and a wonderfully engaging listening experience. The some 150 compositions which van Eyck records (of which about half are performed here) are all notated for descant recorder, and in light of the blind musician’s obsession with the upper partials of the carillon, on which he was also a virtuoso, he may well have specialized on this instrument as he sat on summer evenings in the Janskerkhof in Utrecht entertaining passers-by with his lyricism and skill with divisions. One of the most beguiling features about this collection is that the performer and recording engineer manage to recapture the relaxed atmosphere and acoustic bloom of the music’s original context. Perhaps wisely given that the vast bulk of the music is for unaccompanied recorder, Erik Bosgraaf employs a range of more than a dozen recorders of different sizes which he plays with exquisite musicality and, where necessary, stunning virtuosity. However, unlike other performances I have heard from this publication, this is not all about technique, and is much more about the music. The Fluyten Lust-hof  is a delight to listen to as you do not listen for long without hearing a very familiar melody, with the eclectic composer/arranger ranging far and wide for his sources of inspiration. This is a collection with almost too many virtues to mention, but one of the chief among them are the exhaustive programme notes. There is a slight fly in the ointment in that their voluminous nature means that they only appear in Dutch – I feel that this important release deserves a specific English language edition from Brilliant Classics. However, with this one tiny reservation, I confess to being bowled over by this wonderfully entertaining package.

D. James Ross