Music to dangle and bite to
Recorder quartet pays its salute to the spider
Whether heading over from Mars in the company of Ziggy Stardust or wriggling and wiggling inside the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, spiders have played their own important, if very occasional, part in the long history of music. And now Palisander, an enterprising recorder quartet with a love of interesting repertoire and eightlegged beasties, have released Beware the Spider, a disc to have arachnophobes shrieking and jumping onto the bed with a broom. Much of the music on the recording was specifically written to combat tarantism, a disorder that, history relates, was believed to be caused by a bite from a spider – in some cases, the dancing of an energetic tarantella was required to sweat out the poison; in others, playing a more melancholic melody was believed more appropriate. With arrangements by Miriam Nerval, one of Palisander’s players, composers featured include Vivaldi and Byrd. If you can’t get Beware the Spider at your local record shop,
you’ll definitely find it on the web.
stitching soprano: Elizabeth Llewellyn wields the needle