A Restless Heart

Wayward Sisters
59:16
J. S. Bach, Brade, Corbetta, Corelli, Fontana, Geminiani, B. Marini, Matteis, Schmelzer, Schop & de Selma y Salaverde

This CD is something of a whistle-stop tour of 17th- and 18th-century European chamber music. The composers represented are not all the most obvious – Bach, Corelli, Marini Schmelzer, Matteis, Brade, Geminiani all feature but so do Giovanni Batista Fontana, Bartolomé de Selma v Salaverde and Francesco Corbetta. The ensemble, Wayward Sisters, comprises a violinist, recorder player, cellist and a theorbist/lutanist, and they play the music with an intimate awareness of Baroque performance practice and with considerable musicality and virtuosity. This is fortunate as a rather ‘off the wall’ programme note suggests very little understanding of the music’s context – in it, theorbist John Lenti opines ‘Pre-enlightenment western culture was weird’. Is he punning wittily on the group’s name? Elsewhere the statement that the name derives from ‘Henry Purcell’s vivid conjuring of Shakespeare’s witches’ (?) suggests not… The group acknowledges support through indiegogo, a crowdfunding forum, so (obviously) the packaging of this CD, including the devising of the programme notes, has been done on a shoestring. Probably the important point to make is that it has allowed a group of fine young musicians to bring their very pleasing playing to a wider audience. The recording is slightly ‘close’ for my taste, but certainly provides a ‘vivid conjuring’ of the group’s dynamic sound.

D. James Ross