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WÖR - Back To The 1780’s

WÖR - Back To The 1780’s
Appel Rekords APR1361

On my bookshelf I have a rather old and slightly battered poetry book entitled Corne From Olde Fields - dipping into these ancient and half-forgotten poems is a rare treat reserved for rainy days and river banks. Just because something is old does not mean to say that there is nothing to be gleaned from a previous generation’s list of ‘top hits’. In this case, with the help of old musical manuscripts, WÖR have plumbed the depths and risen to the surface with a collection of excellent 18th century European tunes dating from 1743 – 1781. The material has come from a variety of sources; dancing masters from Brussels and Gent, the Di Martinelli’s from Diest who were a family of musicians and lawyers and, finally, carillon players from Antwerp, Viane and Leuven respectively. Old war horses perhaps, but WÖR, with their enthusiastic and highly competent style, have turned these old favourites from Flanders into something really quite special.

The original robust nature of the material shines through on all the tracks and yet they have still been able to put their own modern twist into the playing and performance of the material. The net result is a strangely timeless, contemporary sound that is firmly seated in the past but could still easily have been written today. This is a fine CD which anybody with an ounce of musicality about them would be proud to own. All the tracks performed by these young, talented players feature great verve and fine musicianship. The opening track Contre Danse (DG 178) sets the vigorous tone of the CD which is upheld and maintained throughout.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Back To The 1780’s and, unlike my book, I shall be dipping into this CD much more frequently than halcyon high days and holidays.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.