In Echo

Music in a Cold Climate


PAUL Baxter’s East Lothian-based record label is surely the thinking early music aficionado’s first port of call for adventurous new recordings these days, and this is a debut from cornetto player Gawain Glenton’s new group, In Echo. Although he and Emily White, on tenor sackbut (doubling on violin), are in the company of five string players and the organ and harpsichord of Silas Wollston, there is often a brass band sound to the music, which would have been heard in the royal courts in the nations of the Hanseatic League in the early 1600s. While some composers rarely strayed from their home turf, their music travelled with its players, while others, like William Brade, whose brief Ein Schottische Tantz is included here, found overseas employment, in his case in the court of Denmark’s King Christian IV.

The Historically Informed Performance authenticity here extends to Baxter having recorded the octet in Romsey Abbey in Hampshire which boasted a reproduction renaissance organ with manually operated bellows, rather than the plug-in portable chamber organ that most period performers settle for.

In the midst of all this – and featuring that instrument – is a splendid new four-movement work by Andrew Keeling that makes use of most of the rest of the ensemble but no special effort to sound contemporaneous rather than contemporary. It is entitled, pleasingly, Northern Soul.

Keith Bruce