|cast a bell|
|CD only BEJOCD-33|
'When Mark Emerson first sent me this recording I was almost frightened by its strength and flair. On 'Cast a bell' three virtuosos explore John Playford's great reservoir of melodies with daring and ceaseless invention to create a music that is in turn edgy, exquisite and darkly mesmerising - even psychedelic. This is an album with an emphatically live feel, and charged with raw energy. Yet the recording is lit too by passages of delicate introspection and formal beauty. I have heard nothing quite like it before - it seems to me to redefine the very nature of English roots music.'
What the Critics have said...
'A Magnetic debut album'
'Mark Emerson (violin), Andy Cutting (accordion), and Tim Harries (double
bass) mark the 350th anniversary of John Playford's The English Dancing
Master with an album that might have been subtitled Deeper into Playford
as the trio uncover and explore sides to the music that you'd never
suspected were there. One has heard this material done primly on pianos and
with raw energy on period instruments (a group led by John Wright on a
1978 LP for the Chant du Monde label) but here Emerson aims to pursue both
the darkness and the beauty he finds in the tunes and his collaborators
are with him every step of the way. The way the music shifts - often
almost imperceptibly - between light and shade, introspection and
extroversion is all the more impressive for each track having been
recorded as a whole, without editing or overdubs. The original jaunty
dance tunes are never that far away but some sets, such as the 16-minute
title track wend in and out some almost abstract passages before
returning to the theme. Emerson includes a single tune of his own, Under
Alder, a piano solo so spare as to be almost a sequence of single
sustained notes. This same one is reprised at the end of a version of
Bobbing Joe that could pass for a pipe lament for some massacred Hebridean
chieftain. This is definitely not Playford-as-we-know it (and it would
take a modern ballet group to dance to it) but a remarkable work of
exploration, imagination and collective musical intuition'.
'2001 is barely half way through, but surely Cast a Bell is already destined
to become album of the year. This is one of those rare works of genius that
comes along every now and then to pull the comfortable rug from under your
feet and knock the wind out of your cosy sails. The tunes, from Playford's
English Dancing Master, may be 350 years old, but the music is now and
shows not a trace of that fey, olde-worlde sound so often associated with
'Astonishingly inventive and breathtakingly skilful... a spiritual journey that often sounds as threatening as it does enticing'
'1651 was the year John Playford published the first edition of the English Dancing Master, a collection of English folk dances and their associated tunes. Violinist Mark Emerson has had a long standing relationship with the Playford collection, reintroducing the dances into the English ceilidh repertoire as a member of the wonderful Pyewackett in the early 1980s, and causing some degree of outrage in the process by playing Playford tunes wirth new-fangled rock and jazz influences.
'The playing is very fine'
1651 - live at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford
'Serious, demanding, and quite spectacular.' Simon Heywood,
ŌAs delicate and exquisite as a Fabergˇ eggÕ
|2001 saw the 350th anniversary of the 'English Dancing Master'. Formed by Mark Emerson, the ensemble 1651 draws its inspiration from that great mid-17th-century collection of dance tunes. From the melodies' quirky rhythms, angular lines and moments of sheer beauty the musicians spin intensely worked improvisations, taking the listener on an epic journey wherein the deep roots and strong spirit of a long-neglected English Music exert a powerful influence.|
Mark Emerson (violin, viola, piano)
Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion)
Tim Harries (double bass)
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