BBC Music Magazine

Guided by Voices

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Godin: Guided by Voices;

Ueno: Chimera; Ceccerelli:

With concord of sweet sounds;

LC Smith: Ricercar; Mckinley: Cortile di Pilato*; Streich: Minerva Elinor Frey (cello), Mélisande Mcnabney (harpsichor­d)*

Analekta AN 2 9162 75:09 mins

Period instrument exponents including harpsichor­dist Mahan Esfahani and viol consort Fretwork have proved more than amenable to enlarging their repertoire with contempora­ry music. It’s not even a recent phenomenon if you count Wanda Landowska, who was midwife to harpsichor­d concertos by Poulenc and Falla. Doing her bit for the Baroque cello is Elinor Frey, who commits to disc six pieces commission­ed by or for herself.

And in taking charge of a new four-string Baroque cello to complement her five-stringed instrument, she reminds us that once upon a time, new music was routinely played on new instrument­s.

She’s a fearless, sleeves-rolled-up player who tackles the disc’s title track with resolute derring-do – the visceral earthiness of her five-string cello vividly explored by Scott Edward Godin in a work replete with agitated questionin­g, febrile edginess and feistily rustic apostrophe­s. By way of contrast, Isaiah Ceccarelli’s obsessivel­y resonant With concord

of sweet sounds, commission­ed for the same instrument, envisions itself as a continuo for an absent slow melody. And bringing the harpsichor­d to the table, Maxime Mckinley’s Cortile di Pilato proves itself to be a trenchantl­y drawn evocation of colliding timelines, while Ken Ueno’s Chimera submits a dreamlike sense of rememberin­g to microtonal teasing and more. Frey’s is a bold project, boldly despatched. Paul Riley

PERFORMANC­E ★★★★

RECORDING ★★★★★

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