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The trio Fleurie follow a well-trodden path in seeking out the riches of Scottish and English popular tunes from the 17th and 18th centuries. Here, familiar airs such as ‘Greensleeves’ and ‘Daphne’ rub shoulders with more recherché choices, including the two short suites named after flowers that frame the album: The Ranunculus and The Thistle. They’re from Airs for the Seasons by the Scottish composer James Oswald; it’s good to see this wonderful miniaturist and Scot’s tunes collector gaining recognition.

Oswald did not specify a particular treble instrument for his Seasons, but the suites fall clearly within the range of the violin, flute or oboe. The music therefore demands the dynamic and expressive capabilities of those instruments; for me, Laura Justice sometimes pushes her intonation beyond acceptable limits in attempting to overcome the recorder’s restricted dynamics. Tempi can be languorous. The opening movement of Oswald’s The Ranunculus, for example, is played largo, rather than moderato as indicated in the score. Livelier accounts of settings and compositions by Tobias Hume, Ignatius Sancho and John Playford among others prove more entertaining.

Jeremy Barlow Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing