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Sensible Sound, May 2001

"This material requires a nice spacious environment to sound right, and this recording has delivered the goods, courtesy of Forde Abbey. The effect is almost surround-sound like, and the moderately wide sound stage, good blend, and realistic detail simulates a good, mid-distance listening perspective."

Tom Moore
Fanfare, April 2001

"Jacques Paisible is one of those shadowy figures of the recorder netherworld, a composer known to the present day only by his music for that instrument. A 'great and slothful' Frenchman who arrived in London in the 1670s, he married a former mistress of Charles II in 1686, and had a successful career playing the bass violin, composing incidental music for the theater, and making a name for himself as a first-class recorderist. Most of his surviving music includes the recorder.

"His Six Sets of Aires was published as his op. 2 in 1720, the year before he died (his op. 1, for two recorders senza basso, appeared in 1702). Surprisingly enough, given the voracity of the modern recorderist for repertoire, the Setts have not been recorded before, though a printed edition has been available from Schott for 30 years. As presented by the recorderists of Musica Barocca (Johanna Valencia and Maria Martinez, accompanied by the continuo team of Daniel Valencia, Mauricio Buraglia, and Juan Estévez, all except for Johanna Valencia natives of Colombia) Paisible's suites are amiable, entertaining, sweet, mostly French in character, with some Italian style creeping in here and there (the prelude to the F-Major suite, for example), and some English strains (the marches and hornpipe). Musica Barocca's performances are first-rate, expressive, all that you would ask for this music designed to charm, rather than amaze or bewilder. A fine debut for the ensemble. The sound is clear and present. Recommended, especially at Naxos's price."

David Preiser, January 2001

"Jacques Paisible (c. 1656-1721) seems to have had a real influence on musical life in London, even though his name is long forgotten. He spent about 40 years in the city and was a prolific composer of music for the theater. His main reputation as a performer was as a recorder virtuoso, and he published many works for the instrument in various combinations, including the Six Setts of Aires for two Flutes and a Bass performed here. Published in 1720, they provide good evidence for Paisible's talents both as a player and composer, which turns out to be craftsmanlike and idiomatic, with no virtuoso pretensions.

"The English term "Sett" is analogous to the French "Suite", a form that included various traditional dance movements, and Paisible enhanced his minuets, sarabandes, and gavottes with an occasional rigadoon, march, or "Scotch Aire", spicing his lyrical melodic lines with an appealing sensuality. This music must have been perfect for theater intervals: it would offend no one, nor would it be too memorable to distract from the next scene.

"The five members of Musica Barocca (recorders, viola da gamba, theorbo, harpsichord) all contribute excellent work here, making the most out of Paisible's pleasing melodies and sturdy, serviceable bass lines. The sound is ideal for these instruments--clear, warm, and detailed, with no dryness or harshness. Recorder enthusiasts will definitely want this, and any fan of Baroque music can confidently check this out at budget price."

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